Skip to main content

Internet: Disinformation

Question for Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport

UIN 148775, tabled on 3 February 2021

To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what estimate he has made of the proportion of online misinformation that is circulated via online advertising.

Answered on

9 February 2021

The Government takes the issue of misinformation and disinformation very seriously. That is why we stood up the Counter Disinformation Unit in March 2020 to bring together cross-Government monitoring and analysis capabilities and work closely with social media platforms to quickly identify and help them respond to potentially harmful content on their platforms.

We welcome steps taken by platforms to tackle mis/disinformation related to Covid-19, including the introduction of new policies or steps to ban misleading advertising. In a meeting with the Digital Secretary and Health Secretary in November 2020, platforms also agreed to the principle that no user or company should directly profit from COVID-19 vaccine misinformation.

As part of the government’s Online Advertising Programme, we held a call for evidence last year on the extent to which consumers are exposed to harmful or misleading advertising online, and whether the scale and speed of online transactions is creating challenges for the existing regulatory system. We will launch a public consultation on measures to enhance the regulation of online advertising in the UK later this year.