Social Media: Members

Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport written question – answered on 21st May 2020.

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Photo of Lisa Cameron Lisa Cameron Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Mental Health)

To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what estimate his Department has made of the number of incidences of abuse directed at hon. Members on social media from (a) anonymous and (b) pseudo-anonymous accounts.

Photo of Lisa Cameron Lisa Cameron Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Mental Health)

To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what recent assessment he has made of the role of (a) anonymous and (b) pseudo-anonymous social media accounts in spreading disinformation about the covid-19 pandemic.

Photo of Caroline Dinenage Caroline Dinenage Minister of State

We are working closely with technology companies, civil society and academia to support users to understand and manage the risks and benefits of being online during this period. The Cross-Whitehall Counter-Disinformation Unit was stood up on 5 March 2020 to provide a comprehensive picture of the extent, scope and impact of disinformation and misinformation on Covid-19, and is working with partners to ensure appropriate action is taken. On April 23rd DCMS published new guidance for all users on staying safe online during the Covid-19 pandemic. It includes detailed advice on privacy settings, cyber security and disinformation.

The Government is committed to making the UK the safest place to be online. We expect companies to take responsibility for tackling abusive behaviour on their services such as taking steps to limit anonymised users abusing their services, including harassing others. We are continuing work to develop the final policy position on the new online harms regulatory framework and intend to publish a full government response later this year.

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