Matt Warman MP: “Too many people taken in by Russian propaganda

Boston and Skegness MP Matt Warman has warned in Parliament that Russia’s “soft power” has influenced too many Britons, and called on the Government to work more closely with social media companies to halt the spreading of propaganda. 

In a debate about the recent incidents which occurred in Salisbury, Matt noted that the World Cup provided Russia with an opportunity to project an image of itself which is overly flattering, and this has been compounded by untrue information being shared online. He said his constituents have “seen some of the propaganda and become too convinced.”

Calling for better regulation to tackle this, he said,

“We should not allow the pretence that [social media giants] are simply platforms for the spreading of whatever someone happens to want to put online, but say that the networks have to bear some responsibility for the impacts they have on society when that is palpably negative.”

In the debate, Matt suggested actions such as digitally indicating what is a political campaign, where it has originated, and who has funded it, or encouraging social media networks to build on existing work to identify trusted sources of information. He said,

“If we do not tackle the attitudes of our own citizens to what they read on the internet in respect of the approach that the Russians have taken, we risk more and more people not believing one particular version of the truth, but doubting the credibility of our own security services in general”

Commenting afterward, Matt said,

“Firstly, I pay tribute to our brilliant security services for their work in response to the terrible incidents which occurred in Salisbury – it could just as easily have been in Lincolnshire. However, the fact that many constituents have been surprised by the international response to these incidents speaks volumes about Russia’s soft influence, especially online, which is deeply concerning and something we need to take action to tackle. Too many people have been taken in by Russian propaganda. I am pleased that the Security Minister has committed to proportionate and necessary action to defend British values, and I will certainly support this work.”

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