To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps the Government is taking to prevent companies and organisations using automated social media accounts to (a) increase follower numbers on social media platforms and (b) spread disinformation online.
27 September 2021
The government continues to put pressure on companies to respond quickly and effectively to the threat posed by misinformation and disinformation.
Ministers and officials hold regular discussions with major social media companies to understand what is happening on their platforms and the steps that they are taking to address misinformation and disinformation, including where it is spread by fake accounts.
We have seen positive steps by platforms to curtail the spread of harmful and misleading narratives, particularly in relation to COVID-19, although there is clearly more to do. We will continue to engage platforms regarding measures that could be put in place to respond to this evolving challenge, and we will put pressure on these companies to ensure that their policies and enforcement are fit for purpose, whilst still respecting freedom of expression.
The draft Online Safety Bill sets out proposals to impose a new duty of care on tech companies to tackle illegal and harmful content on their services. To fulfil their duty of care, the largest social media companies will need to set out what harmful content is and is not acceptable in their terms of service. They will need to enforce these terms of service consistently, including policies that may relate to fake user accounts. Ofcom will have the power to hold companies to account if what is appearing on their platforms doesn’t match up with the promises made to users.