A new social media campaign to tackle false vaccine information shared amongst ethnic minority communities will launch today, supported by the world’s biggest social media companies.
The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) has now developed a toolkit with content designed to be shared via Whatsapp and Facebook community groups, as well as Twitter, Youtube and Instagram, to tackle false information spread through private channels.
It follows concerns from the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE) of low vaccine uptake amongst ethnic minority communities, and a recent Ofcom study which showed that people from a minority ethnic background were twice as likely as white respondents to rely more on people they know, people in their local area or people on social media for information about coronavirus.
The campaign is fronted by trusted local community figures such as imams, pastors and clinicians in short, shareable videos which include simple tips on how to spot misinformation and what to do to stop its spread, signposting to the NHS for the best source of information.
It is the first government campaign designed for private instant messaging services where there are concerns that false information about coronavirus is spreading – and that not enough has been done to tackle it, particularly where it could impact the take up of the vaccine.
Minister for Digital and Culture Caroline Dinenage said:
Ministers have worked with platforms throughout the pandemic to ensure accurate and reliable information about coronavirus and life-saving vaccines is easily accessible, and to stop the spread of dangerous content. Facebook has introduced measures to better identify false news and social media platforms have committed to respond swiftly to anti-vaccine content, as well as the principle that no company should profit from it.
This new toolkit is based on the core principles of the government’s SHARE checklist, which encourages people to check where information has come from before they share it, to think critically about the facts and whether or not they are coming from an expert to make sure what they’re sharing is accurate.
The move comes as Facebook launches the second wave of an on-platform ad campaign, in partnership with Full Fact, to educate people about how to spot false news online.
Rebecca Stimson, Head of Public Policy UK, Facebook, said:
Katy Minshall, Head of UK Public Policy, Twitter, said:
The full toolkit can be found here.