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Government bans phrase 'fake news'

• by Margi Murphy

The phrase - a favourite of US President Donald Trump - will no longer appear in policy documents or official papers because it is "a poorly-defined and misleading term that conflates a variety of false information, from genuine error through to foreign interference in democratic processes," officials said.

While ministers may speak freely in the House of Commons, any strategy documents referring to election meddling or internet safety will need to use the new definition. 

The ban on the phrase was prompted by an inquiry into "fake news" led by the Digital, Culture, Media and Sports Committee to address the potential for social media to be misused to sway elections. It followed concerns that Russia meddled with the 2016 US presidential election and the UK referendum to leave the EU.