Misinformation in the COVID-19 Infodemic



1 Introduction

Inquiry origins and scope

Causes of the infodemic

Foreign actors

Financial gain

Good intentions

Impact of misinformation

Public health impact

5G conspiracies

Impact on frontline health workers

Legislative context

Online harms legislation

Freedom of expression

2 Tech companies’ response

Monetising misinformation

The role of algorithms

Transparency in advertising

Funding false narratives

Funding quality journalism

Platform policies against misinformation

Identifying and reporting misinformation

Automated flagging vs human reporting

Bots and ‘blue ticks’

Stopping the spread: labelling and ‘correct the record’ tools

3 Public sector response

Public service broadcasters

The turn to public service broadcasting

Beyond broadcasting

UK Government

Counter Disinformation Unit

Engagement with social media companies

Offline solutions

Implication for online harms


Conclusions and recommendations

Formal minutes


Published written evidence

List of Reports from the Committee during the current Parliament

Published: 21 July 2020