Government Steps in to Police Coronavirus Fake News on Social Media

By Gary Cutlack on at

A new little subdivision of the cleverest computer people within government has been established and pointed in a grim direction, with the aim of battling the tiresome and predictable menace that is fake news regarding the coronavirus.

Cabinet Office staff say that as many as 10 cases of potentially dangerously wrong virus news are being found each day primarily on your dad's Facebook page. The Rapid Response Unit plans to address the harms caused by armchair experts issuing what could end up being "dangerous misinformation," and the potential for fraudsters to try to steal money from pensioners by saying they've got special packets of Lockets that ward off infection that only cost £100 per pack.

Culture secretary Oliver Dowden said there's going to be a (laggy, virtual) meeting with the social giants this week, explining: "We're working with social media companies, and I'll be pressing them this week for further action to stem the spread of falsehoods and rumours which could cost lives." [GOV]