The UK government has today announced plans to establish a new unit to counter ‘fake news’. This will serve as a ‘dedicated national security communications unit’ which aims to combat ‘disinformation by state actors and others’. Announcing the move, the Prime Minister’s spokesman said: ‘we are living in an era of fake news and competing narratives.’
Its creation has led to inevitable jokes, with Tim Farron declaring that the three Brexiteers – Boris, Gove and David Davis – ‘should be the first investigations’. Meanwhile, others online have taken the swift government action as an indicator that Russian activity could have played a role during the EU referendum.
However, the big Brexit takeaway lies elsewhere. Emmanuel Macron was expected to try and convince Theresa May of the need to join his campaign against ‘fake news’ on his trip to Britain last week. It seems his efforts were successful – and the news that the UK is ready to join the crusade against fake news will do no harm to Anglo-French relations in the upcoming negotiations.