Social media firms asked to explain what they are doing to tackle coronavirus misinformation

A text message from the government told the public to stay at home the day after Boris Johnson put t

A text message from the government told the public to stay at home the day after Boris Johnson put the UK in lockdown. Picture: PA - Credit: PA

Social media giants will be called into parliament to explain how they are tackling misinformation about coronavirus spreading online.

The Commons Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee has asked members of the public to send in evidence of false Covid-19 information circulating in their social networks.

Committee chairman Julian Knight said tech giants were 'morally responsible' for the information on their platforms and should face penalties if they do not tackle false rumours about the disease.

His committee will haul in social media bosses once parliament returns from its extended Easter break.

'The deliberate spreading of false information about Covid-19 could have serious consequences,' Knight said.

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'Much of this is happening on social media through private channels, putting the onus on friends and family to identify whether the information they are seeing is misleading.

'There have been some shocking examples in recent weeks and we want people to send us what they've come across.

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'We will call in social media companies as soon as the House returns to explain what they're doing to deal with harmful content like this to help give people the reassurances they need at this difficult time.

'Tech giants who allow this to proliferate on their platforms are morally responsible for tackling disinformation and should face penalties if they don't.'

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