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Coronavirus: Disinformation

Question for Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office

UIN 84694, tabled on 3 September 2020

To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, what progress the covid-19 fake news unit has made; and what criteria he is using to evaluate the performance of that unit.

Answered on

14 September 2020

The Counter Disinformation Unit was established on 5 March 2020, bringing together cross-Government monitoring and analysis capabilities. Its primary function is to provide a comprehensive picture of the extent, scope and the reach of disinformation and misinformation on Covid-19, and to work with partners to ensure appropriate action is taken.

Government has been identifying and resolving up to 70 incidents a week, often false narratives containing multiple misleading claims coordinating with departments across Whitehall to deploy an appropriate response. This can include a direct rebuttal on social media, working with platforms to remove harmful content, and ensuring public health campaigns are promoted through reliable sources. A range of criteria from engagement rates to speed of response is used to evaluate the effectiveness of the actions taken.

Answered by

Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office
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