The overwhelming majority of the British public is in favour of criminalising the dissemination of ‘fake news’ about vaccines, as the left-wing Labour Party has come out in favour of further speech restrictions in the UK under the pretext of the Chinese coronavirus.
A survey of 2,000 Britons conducted by ORB International found that 80 per cent of the British public support the prosecution of those who share supposed misinformation online about vaccines.
The research also claimed that misinformation on average spreads six times faster than alleged real news about vaccines, according to The Telegraph.
Meanwhile, the left-wing Labour Party has called on the government to pass emergency laws to “stamp out dangerous” dissemination of so-called anti-vax conspiracy theories online, demanding that financial and criminal penalties be enacted into law.
Shadow health secretary Jonathan Ashworth said that the posts are “exploiting people’s fears, their mistrust of institutions and governments and spreading poison and harm.”
The government has revealed that it is currently flagging anti-vax posts to social media companies for removal, while many platforms already label posts as ‘disputed’ and remove those that violate their terms of service.
This, however, was deemed inadequate by the Labour Party, who said in a statement: “The announced collaboration with social media companies last week was welcome but feels grossly inadequate with a promise by them to remove only the content which is flagged by government and which generates profit.”
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Labour’s shadow culture secretary, Jo Stevens claimed that the government’s failure to censor more posts has been said “pitiful”.
“It has been clear for years that this is a widespread and growing problem and the Government knows, because Labour has been warning them for some time, that it poses a real threat to the take up of the vaccine,” Stevens said.
“This is literally a matter of life and death and anyone who is dissuaded from being vaccinated because of this is one person too many,” she warned.
A spokesman said that the government will soon reveal its response to the Online Harms consultation, saying: “Letting vaccine disinformation spread unchecked could cost British lives.
“We take this issue extremely seriously and have secured a major commitment from Facebook, Twitter and Google to tackle it by not profiting from such material, and by responding to flagged content more swiftly.”
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— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) November 9, 2020
The chief executive of the Center for Countering Digital Hate (CCDH), Imran Ahmed also called upon the government to enact stricter speech regulations around vaccines, saying: “The Government must stop falling for Big Tech’s excuses, and introduce financial and criminal penalties for failures that lead to serious harm.”
“We have all done our bit to contain Coronavirus. It’s beyond time for social media companies and regulators to do their bit too,” Ahmed went on.
The Center for Countering Digital Hate rose to international attention over the summer after it was reported by NBC News that the British “anti-hate” non-profit was behind a campaign to blacklist conservative websites in America from Google ads ahead of the presidential election.
The CCDH, which is linked to the British government and top members of the Labour Party, listed Breitbart News, World Net Daily, The Gateway Pundit, American Thinker, American Greatness, and The Federalist, in its “Defund Racism” campaign.
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— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) September 30, 2020
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