The Department for Digital Culture Media and Sport (DCMS) requires a delivery partner to provide monitoring and analysis of social media content, with a clear focus on UK audiences (where possible to make that distinction), to identify harmful disinformation and misinformation narratives, Coordinated Inauthentic Behaviour (CIB) or systematic manipulation of the information environment.
The UK government’s secretive ‘disinformation’ units have been implicated in suppressing free speech and spying on critics, including MPs, journalists, and the general public. Big Brother Watch’s investigation revealed these activities, which were supposedly aimed at combating disinformation.
These units, under the guise of countering fake news, scrutinized criticism of the government’s actions, labelling dissent as misinformation. Disinformation is indeed a problem, but the term is at risk of political misuse by governments. Everyone should be able to scrutinize and criticize the government without their speech being flagged or suppressed.
Big Brother Watch is actively resisting the unaccountable activities of these government units. With public support, they aim to challenge the UK Government’s ‘Counter Disinformation’ Unit, increase pressure for an investigation into its work, and continue probing extra-judicial government censorship and surveillance activities.
Notable public figures, including Green Party MP Caroline Lucas and Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer, had their comments analysed by these units. Moreover, it was revealed that soldiers from the Army’s 77th Brigade collected tweets about Covid-19 from UK citizens and forwarded them to the central government, even though they claimed their operations were directed strictly overseas.