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UK Government Pressures Social Media Giants To Tackle “Misinformation” Ahead of Elections

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The UK has a new Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Tech and the Digital Economy, Conservative MP Saqib Bhatti, and the politician seems very enthusiastic when talking about things like “cooperation” with Big Tech, particularly in terms of elections.

That’s because, critics will say, those in power want to absolutely control the conversation, what can and can’t be said online, and thus directly influence the vote; whereas those in power say, it’s all just a perfectly benevolent effort to make sure misinformation plays no part in the campaign.

One person’s “cooperation” is another’s “collusion.” And so Bhatti hinted in a recent interview that ahead of the UK’s upcoming general election a key task to be achieved is to have the government and Big Tech “reconvene” for another round of “misinformation tackling.”

And that, as easy as not, may mean aggressive online censorship of views critical of the ruling party.

After possibly offending any real “tech geek” by calling himself that – Bhatti in time revealed that actual technology is not the most important thing a person in charge of Tech and the Digital Economy, as well those in the Department for Science, Innovation and Technology (DSIT), have to work on in the UK.

No – instead, it’s “misinformation and disinformation.”

A very succinct way of demonstrating that those in power think about staying in power far more energetically than they consider things such as innovation, economic progress tied to digital tech, and even properly regulating the field.

And so people who call themselves “tech geeks” are deeply involved in making sure “moderation” (i.e., censorship) is alive and well on major platforms, and also, framing all this as a crucial “battle for democracy.”

It’s all politics in other words – and no “tech.”

“In October, Science, Innovation and Technology Secretary, Michelle Donelan, hosted a roundtable with the UK leaders of social media companies Google, Meta, X, TikTok, and Snapchat to discuss the spread of antisemitism, violent content, and misinformation following the Hamas attack on Israel,” one report said.

And Bhatti, the “tech nerd,” thinks another such “intervention” could be needed – this time related to the general election.

Bhatti’s by no means an outlier here – this is clearly the current UK government’s policy. Only this week, Home Secretary James Cleverly was in the US, to “convene” with Apple, Google, Meta, and X.

Why? Said a government source: “(To make sure there are) safeguards against attempts at malign influence in the democratic process.”

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