Coronavirus: Disinformation

Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport written question – answered on 17th November 2020.

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Photo of Damian Hinds Damian Hinds Conservative, East Hampshire

To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what assessment he has made of the extent of (a) misinformation and (b) disinformation on social media on the covid-19 outbreak to date; who the originators of the most widespread messages are; and what assessment he has made of the motivations behind such messages.

Photo of Caroline Dinenage Caroline Dinenage Minister of State

The Government takes the issue of disinformation very seriously. During the Covid-19 pandemic, it continues to be vitally important that the public has accurate information about the virus, and DCMS is leading work across Government to tackle disinformation.

That is why we stood up the Counter Disinformation Unit up on 5 March to bring together cross-Government monitoring and analysis capabilities. The Unit’s primary function is to provide a comprehensive picture of the extent, scope and impact of disinformation and misinformation regarding Covid-19 and to work with partners to ensure appropriate action is taken.

Misinformation and disinformation can come from a range of sources, however it would not be appropriate for us to provide a running commentary on the amount of misinformation or disinformation seen to date. Throughout the pandemic, we have been working closely with social media platforms to quickly identify and help them respond to potentially harmful content on their platforms, including removing harmful content in line with their terms and conditions, and promoting authoritative sources of information.

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