Coronavirus: Vaccination

Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport written question – answered on 11 February 2022.

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Photo of Charlotte Nichols Charlotte Nichols Labour, Warrington North

To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps she is taking to remove misinformation on covid-19 vaccines online.

Photo of Chris Philp Chris Philp The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport

The Government takes the issue of disinformation very seriously. The Counter Disinformation Unit was stood up on 5 March 2020 to bring together cross-Government monitoring and analysis capabilities to provide a comprehensive picture of the extent, scope, and reach of misinformation and disinformation, including that relating to COVID-19. The CDU remains stood up.

The Government is committed to ensuring that the information people access about COVID-19 and the vaccine is accurate, so that everyone is able to make informed decisions about their health. We are working with social media platforms to ensure promotion of authoritative sources of information, and to help them identify and remove incorrect claims about COVID-19 and the vaccine in line with their terms and conditions.

The Online Safety Bill will force companies to tackle illegal misinformation and disinformation in scope of the Bill, and the biggest platforms will need to address legal but harmful material, including some types of harmful misinformation such as anti-vaccination content. However, we expect companies to take steps now to improve safety, and not wait for the legislation to come into force before acting.

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