UK response unit to tackle coronavirus misinformation online

The Rapid Response Unit will tackle false information and fraud surrounding the pandemic.
By BLOOMBERG
| Updated on Mar 30 2020, 08:58 PM IST
Up to 70 incidents a week are being identified and resolved a week, the UK government said.
Up to 70 incidents a week are being identified and resolved a week, the UK government said. (Bloomberg)

The UK government is taking its coronavirus battle online, setting up a group to deal with false claims and misinformation about the pandemic.

The Rapid Response Unit -- which will work out of the Cabinet Office and Downing Street -- will tackle false information and fraud surrounding the pandemic, according to a statement published Monday. It will coordinate with different departments to respond, through direct rebuttals on social media or working with platforms to remove content.

Up to 70 incidents a week are being identified and resolved a week, according to the statement. Advice to hold your breath for 10 seconds to determine if you have coronavirus or to gargle water as a cure are some of false claims coming from sources claiming to be experts online.

"We're working with social media companies, and I'll be pressing them this week for further action to stem the spread of falsehoods and rumors which could cost lives," Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden said. He'll be contacting those firms to assess the progress they've made on the issue and discuss what else can be done.

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First Published Date: 30 Mar, 08:58 PM IST
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