MP for Oldham East and Saddleworth Debbie Abrahams is calling on the government to do more to tackle lies and misinformation about Covid-19 being spread on social media platforms.

Speaking after raising this on BBC News with Victoria Derbyshire, the MP said: “There’s some really worrying misinformation about Covid going round on social media with one horrific rumour saying that children who test positive could be taken away from their parents.

“This is complete nonsense but understandably many people are being made anxious by such claims. These types of postings on social media platforms have been escalating, with all sorts of claims being made, many having no basis in fact whatsoever. Social media companies, like the mainstream media, should be regulated by law, with posts required to have the same standards of accuracy.

“I first heard about this particular rumour from my constituents when I was out and about with the council teams, and volunteers, who are knocking on doors, with genuine advice and information about local Covid restrictions.

“What’s disgraceful about this is the fact that the government had the chance to bring social media companies in line with traditional media in terms of regulation, but in 2018 the Conservative government cancelled the second part of the Leveson Inquiry which was meant to examine how this could happen.

“The social media companies have had ample time to sort this out and have failed. The Government needs to get a grip and force them to stamp this sort of thing out.”