British intelligence agency GCHQ has launched a cyber operation against anti-vaccination propaganda on social media. This mainly concerns disinformation from Russia, reports The Times.
In the operation, the GCHQ would use methods previously developed in the online fight against Islamic State to prevent the terror group from recruiting fighters through social media.
“That was somewhat successful then”, says correspondent Tim de Wit. “In your attempts to block this information you just run against the freedom of expression. So they mainly try to trace the creators and block their internet traffic.”
Last month, Foreign Minister Raab accused Russia of spreading fake news around Oxford University’s vaccine candidate.
According to him, a Russian ‘troll factory’ spread the word that the Oxford vaccine would turn people into monkeys. Raab called this fake news “very serious, because it undermines efforts to make a safe vaccine.”
Extra sharp on fake news
Correspondent De Wit is therefore not surprised that the GCHQ has started the cyber operation. The involvement of the intelligence service mainly proves that the British consider such fake news to be dangerous, he says. “Because such a message quickly takes on a life of its own.”
Since the flow of disinformation from Russia about, among other things, Brexit and the poisoned double agent Skripal in 2018, according to De Wit, extra close attention has been paid to fake news in Great Britain.