Government announces anti-fake news unit

Fake news newspaperImage copyrightGetty Images

The UK government is to establish a new unit to counter “fake news”, Downing Street has said.

Theresa May’s spokesman said the “dedicated national security communications unit” would be charged with “combating disinformation by state actors and others”.

“We are living in an era of fake news and competing narratives,” he said.

Government announces anti-fake news unit
Government announces anti-fake news unit

The phrase “fake news” has recently emerged and is frequently used by US President Donald Trump.

What is fake news?

Completely false information, photos or videos purposefully created and spread to confuse or misinform

Information, photos or videos manipulated to deceive – or old photographs shared as new

Satire or parody which means no harm but can fool people

A committee of MPs is currently carrying out an inquiry into the “growing phenomenon” and has demanded information from Facebook and Twitter including on Russian activity during the EU referendum.

Downing Street told political reporters: “The government will respond with more and better use of national security communications to tackle these interconnected complex challenges.

“We will build on existing capabilities by creating a dedicated national security communications unit. This will be tasked with combating disinformation by state actors and others. It will more systematically deter our adversaries and help us deliver on national security priorities.”

Last month the BBC launched a new scheme to help young people identify real news and filter out fake or false information.

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