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How the Department monitors and rebuts misinformation

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A stock image of newspapers representing what has been in the news today

Misinformation about the return to school can upset parents, staff and pupils. While much of the information shared online is helpful and reputable, some is not and this poses a real risk.

That is why the Department has dedicated a team to the tracking and rebuttal of misinformation online.

This story in the Telegraph today looks at the work of the team, which has so far tracked more than 500 social media posts for misinformation since June and acted on more than 50 of them where concerns have arisen.

This includes using direct rebuttal through social media posts and through explainers and mythbusters via this blog.

Among the examples is this, highlighted in the Telegraph article, where a number of posts on Facebook and shared on WhatsApp have suggested, wrongly, that children can be tested for coronavirus without the consent of parents or guardians.

A Department for Education spokesperson said:

"As the Chief Medical Officer said, the risks from coronavirus to children are minimal – and parents should be in no doubt it is safe to return to school.

"We continually combat and correct misinformation through direct rebuttal, and by working with social media companies and others to remove misleading content."

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