The U.K. Government is set to spend £600,000 ($755,000) on social media surveillance to identify “harmful disinformation and misinformation narratives”. Reclaim the Net has the story.
This is revealed in a notice posted on the Government’s Contracts Finder site that contains information about contracts whose value exceeds the equivalent of $15,000. It shows the authorities are looking for a “misinformation and disinformation monitoring and analysis service”.
This current call for tender is the work of the Department of Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) and was published on April 23rd, closing a month later. …
The announcement states that the place of performance of the contract will be the U.K., while the duration will be nine months, with the possibility of renewal.
The DCMS’s future partner in monitoring and analysing social media content will have to focus on U.K. audiences, according to the tendering terms, adding that this “clear” focus should be present where that distinction is possible to make.
The goal is described in fairly vague terms as identifying “harmful disinformation and misinformation narratives, Coordinated Inauthentic Behaviour (CIB) or systematic manipulation of the information environment”.
What the DCMS intends to do with the reports from its future surveillance contractor is anybody’s guess at this point.
Given its abysmal performance during the pandemic, quite why the Government thinks it is in any position to authoritatively distinguish fact from fiction is unclear. The point that the risk of some people getting stuff wrong is worth taking to safeguard freedom of expression and inquiry – and thus the quest for truth – seems completely lost on them.
Worth reading in full.