Facebook must be fined for failing to remove dangerous anti-vaccine content, Labour demand

SOCIAL media giants must face huge fines for failing to stamp out dangerous anti-vaccine material, minsters were told last night.

Lies peddled by online groups are a “real and present danger” to the jabs roll-out, say critics.

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Labour is demanding emergency legislation enforcing financial and criminal penalties for tech giants.

They say them agreeing not to profit from anti-vax material is not enough.

Shadow Digital Secretary Jo Stevens said: “This a growing problem.”

Unchecked social media posts on TikTok using the hashtag #vaccinesaredangerous has had 800,000 views.

A host of videos on YouTube show advertising which generate an income stream for the tech firm.

Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden has been sent a letter from Labour’s frontbench on the issue who have vowed to work with government to pass new legislation.

Jo Stevens said: “The Government has a pitiful track record on taking action against online platforms that are facilitating the spread of disinformation.

“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.

“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.”

Dowden and Health Secretary Matt Hancock held a virtual roundtable where they committed “to the principle that no company should profit from or promote Covid-19 anti-vaccine disinformation”.

The firms also said they would respond to “flagged” content more speedily and promote accurate messages.

A government spokesperson last night said: “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.

“We continue to work closely with social media firms to promote authoritative sources of information so people have access to vaccine facts not fiction.”

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