The UK Government has been pressured to take action to combat misinformation spread by internet users, according to a report released today (12 April) by the CMS committee. 

The report advises the UK Government to allow its scientists and researchers to take a more public approach in passing information on to the public in response to misinformation during the Covid-19 pandemic. 

However, the report stated that misinformation online was not limited to Covid-19, and it had recorded misinformation being spread about 5G, terror attacks being staged, climate change and elections. 

Alongside allowing its researchers to take a more public approach, the report advised the UK Government to take a proactive approach to posting information online, especially on social media sites. 

Consistent advice on TikTok and an improved GOV.UK could help the government widen its reach, the report stated.

This was despite the TikTok app being banned on government devices in March 2023, which the report acknowledges. 

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“The recent growth of TikTok and decisions to disengage from or potentially ban the platform demonstrates how swiftly sources of information can change,” it read. 

The report advised that the UK Government needed a clear strategy for keeping up with changing audience habits by providing information on the online platforms they are using. 

MP and chair of the CMS committee Dame Caroline Dinenage stated that it was more important than ever to address audiences online with authoritative information amid a rising misinformation threat online. 

“There are lessons to be learnt from the pandemic where scientists played a critical role in communications. The government is missing a trick in not giving them a larger public role in the battle to counter misinformation,” said Dinenage. 

Dinenage stated that until clear goals are set by the UK Government, it would be difficult to accurately assess the effectiveness of its communication with the general public.