‘Fake News taskforce’ activated to counteract coronavirus disinformation

The Government has activated its ‘fake news taskforce’ to counteract disinformation about coronavirus.

The unit, which includes teams from across Whitehall, will seek out and respond to online disinformation about the Covid-19 outbreak.

They will specifically focus on deliberate false or manipulated information.

That could include false information spread to deliberately cause harm, for political purposes – or scammers targeting the vulnerable for financial gain.

Announcing the unit, the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport said officials would be "working with strategic experts" to ensure the government is prepared to respond.

The cross-government team will engage with social media firms to monitor the internet for scams.

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The work includes regular and robust engagement with the social media companies to monitor interference and limit the spread of disinformation.

Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden said: “Defending the country from misinformation and digital interference is a top priority.

“As part of our ongoing work to tackle these threats we have brought together expert teams to make sure we can respond effectively should these threats be identified in relation to the spread of Covid-19."

He added: “This work includes regular engagement with the social media companies, which are well placed to monitor interference and limit the spread of disinformation, and will make sure we are on the front foot to act if required."

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