Ministers had 'chilling' secret unit to curb lockdown dissent
Key Excerpts from Article on Website of The Telegraph (One of the UK's Leading Newspapers)
Posted: June 18th, 2023
A secretive government unit worked with social media companies in an attempt to curtail discussion of controversial lockdown policies during the pandemic. The Counter-Disinformation Unit (CDU) was set up by ministers to tackle supposed domestic "threats", and was used to target those critical of lockdown and questioning the mass vaccination of children. Critics of lockdown had posts removed from social media. There is growing suspicion that social media firms used technology to stop the posts being promoted, circulated or widely shared after being flagged by the CDU or its counterpart in the Cabinet Office. Documents revealed under Freedom of Information (FoI) and data protection requests showed that the activities of prominent critics of the Government's Covid policies were secretly monitored. An artificial intelligence firm (AI) was used by the Government to scour social media sites. The company flagged discussions opposing vaccine passports. Many of the issues being raised were valid at the time and have since been proven to be well-founded. The BBC also took part in secretive meetings of a government policy forum to address the so-called disinformation. It can now be revealed that the activities of Prof Carl Heneghan, the Oxford epidemiologist who has advised Boris Johnson, and Dr Alexandre de Figueiredo, a research fellow at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (LSHTM), were monitored by government disinformation units.