Question to the Cabinet Office:
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, when the Rapid Response Unit was formed; and for what purpose.
The Rapid Response Unit (RRU) was created in 2018 to strengthen the Government’s ability to deal with the challenge of identifying disinformation being spread online. It ran throughout the pandemic, but has since been disbanded. The RRU monitored news and information being shared and engaged with online, using only public and openly available information to do so. In analysing social media trends to identify key narratives and themes, in some instances it collected published material on organisations or individuals with a public profile.
Where the RRU identified instances of misinformation which were gaining traction it would highlight that information within Government to the relevant department to take action if they felt it was required.
The RRU was a small team with less than 10 members of staff and an annual staffing budget up to £450,000.