Government to ramp up social-media skills in bid to ‘tackle false information’ online
Cabinet Office to build team of online experts to help ‘harness power of technology for good’
The Cabinet Office plans to introduce a new team of social media experts to combat the spread of fake news online.
Alex Aiken, the executive director for government communications, said that changes to the way news is shared have presented new challenges for government communicators, who must react while continuing to be a reliable source of information.
He said one of the aims of the Government Communication Service for 2018 was to “build a rapid response social media capability to deal quickly with disinformation and reclaim a fact-based public debate with a new team to lead this work in the Cabinet Office”.
Writing last week in PR Week, Aiken outlined eight objectives for the GCS in 2018, including dealing with the spread of “disinformation”.
- Social networks could face same regulation as news sites, government says
- Attorney general to examine risks of ‘trial by social media’
- Defra invests in social media analysis tool to monitor public attitudes to food issues
“We are seeing changes in the way information is being processed and shared – a tech savvy but disparate audience hungry for information and influenced by a small number of dominant opinion formers in the public eye,” he said.
“The real test for government communications is being nimble enough to respond to the many challenges thrown at it while remaining a reliable source of information.”
As well as building social media capability, Aiken’s goals for 2018 included challenging the declining trust in institutions through honest, relevant and responsive government campaigns; creating engaging and shareable content; better use of data; and updating guidance on behavioural science techniques.
He said the GCS would be implementing a new approach to strategic communication, part of the GCS Improvement programme, in June.
A Cabinet Office spokesperson said: “The government is committed to tackling false information and the Government Communications Service plays a crucial role in this. Digital communications are constantly evolving and we are looking at ways to meet the challenging media landscape by harnessing the power of new technology for good.”
The move comes after environment secretary Michael Gove in November criticised “the way in which social media corrupts and distorts” reporting and political decision-making, after an article in the Independent incorrectly claimed that Conservative MPs had voted against including a clause in the EU Withdrawal Bill that recognised that animals are sentient beings.
Examining the language of each party’s manifesto reveals significant differences in the amount and focus of proposals related to technology and data policy – as well as in the wider themes of each...
Study from The Federation of Small Businesses urges Holyrood and Westminster to ‘bury the hatchet’
Open Knowledge Foundation urges politicians to ‘stop playing fast and loose with the truth’
Rounding up the Tories’ key pledges in the area of digital and data, including a new cybercrime force and tax incentives for investments in cloud computing
To have the best chance of an effective response and a full recovery, organisations should have a robust incident response strategy in place, says BT
We hear from BT about why delivering a great customer experience depends on your network visibility
Organisations are increasingly having to replace their legacy voice infrastructure as traditional analogue and ISDN lines are being phased out. BT talk about how they can help the transition...
BT presents findings from cryptocurrency firm Gemini on how they're providing customers with direct connectivity thanks to the Radianz network