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UK government will set up a national security communications unit to tackle fake news on social media

The UK government is set to stick its nose into social networks to tackle the creation and spread of so-called ‘fake news’.

A new national security unit is to be set up and will see a dedicated team get assigned to tackling fake news across the likes of Facebook and Twitter.

How exactly the unit will do this is unclear, but a spokesman for Prime Minister Theresa May noted “the government will respond with more and better use of national security communications to tackle these interconnected complex challenges”, Reuters reported.

“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,” the spokesman added.

The overarching idea being the national security communications unit is to have rapid response within government to tackle disinformation being posted on social media platforms and try and replace it with online public debates that are fact-based.

The mention of state actors in the spokesman’s statement would indicate that the government wants to particularly tackle alleged fake news being supposedly seeded by people acting on behalf of the Russian government in an attempt to use information as a weapon to sow discord in western nations.

Where the unit will be based and exactly how it will operate has yet to be revealed, though the spokesman pointed out that the Prime Minster’s previous statements on national security would indicate the state actors the government is concerned about.

However, some may see this as yet another attempt at the government to interfere with citizens’ online activity. But we’ll just have to see how the new units actions play out.

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