The UK Government’s “disinformation” unit is “working,” the Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries said, after she was challenged by the Labour party who said the shadowy unit shut down last year.
In the UK, both the Conservative and Labour governments support more online censorship.
“It’s not the case, it’s not true; it is there, it is working,” Nadine Dorries said in response to a question this week.
“That work takes place daily, and daily we work to remove content online that is harmful and particularly when it comes to Covid-19, daily we have contact with the online providers.”
🚩🚩🚩A member of the Cabinet (@NadineDorries), boasting about the existence of an opaque Whitehall Unit that forces the censorship of citizens' online speech, at its own discretion.
This is devastating for the rule of law and free speech in the UK. It cannot be tolerated. pic.twitter.com/mQBSW0jlqy
— Big Brother Watch (@BigBrotherWatch) January 6, 2022
Ministers in the UK government created a “disinformation unit” to fight the spread of “false” information about COVID-19. The government felt that people were getting misleading information about the virus on social media.
The disinformation unit included civil servants in Whitehall. They were to work with communication experts and collaborate with social media companies.
At the time, then-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.
“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.”
The team was supposed to focus on disinformation, which refers to the deliberate spreading of false information for personal gain or “trolling.”
The misleading information the government was concerned about included recommendations of cures that are ineffective or potentially “dangerous” and “false claims” about the origin of the coronavirus.
Social media companies had already begun flagging Covid-related misinformation and directing users to what they deemed reliable sources.