SNP creates online rebuttal unit to take aim at Scottish independence ‘disinformation’

Newly established team appears to be similar in operation to previous UK government initiatives intended to tackle inaccurate or misleading social media content – albeit with a more overtly political remit

The Scottish National Party is to launch a Rebuttal Unit to counter what it calls media disinformation about Scottish independence.

The party’s depute leader Keith Brown used his speech at the party’s recent conference in Aberdeen to set out plans for the service, which was first outlined by Humza Yousaf during his successful bid to become party leader earlier this year. The new unit will provide activists with information to promote the SNP and rebut “opposition narratives”, the party said.

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Brown said:  “I am delighted to confirm that the SNP rebuttal unit will launch next week. You’ll see much more content on the party’s website and on social media in the coming months, clearly marked as coming from the rebuttal unit. Once information is published, it’s over to you – to share on leaflets, social media feeds and anywhere you see fit. I look forward to seeing the work of that Rebuttal Unit informing the debate on Scotland’s future.”

Earlier this year, Yousaf promised a “round-the-clock rebuttal service” which would be “ready to take on disinformation and opposition attacks within minutes”.

The UK government has previously launched various initiatives – most notably the Cabinet Office-based Rapid Response Unit, which was disbanded last year – intended to flag and rebut online disinformation. Unlike its Westminster equivalents, the Scottish unit appears to be overtly political in nature.

A version of this article first appeared on PublicTechnology sister publication Holyrood

Holyrood and PublicTechnology staff

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