Government seeks to take control of fake news over vaccine

The UK government has secured agreement from social media firms including Facebook, Twitter and Google to minimise the spread of fake news relating to a vaccine for COVID-19.

The platforms have agreed to the four following principles:

First, no user or company should directly profit from COVID-19 vaccine mis/disinformation. This removes an incentive for this type of content to be promoted, produced and be circulated.

Second, to ensure a timely response to mis/disinformation content flagged to them by the government.

Third, to continue to work with public health bodies to ensure that authoritative messages about vaccine safety reach as many people as possible.

Fourth, to join new policy forums over the coming months to improve responses to misinformation and to prepare for future threats.

Health secretary, Matt Hancock said: “After clean water, vaccination is the most effective public health intervention in the world and has saved countless lives across the globe, eradicating one disease entirely.

“I am encouraged that social media companies have agreed to do more to prevent the spread of dangerous misinformation and disinformation on their platforms.

“We want users to have greater access to reliable and scientifically-accurate information on vaccines from trusted sources like the NHS so they can make informed decisions to protect themselves and their loved ones.”

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