Social Media Under The Microscope As Part Of Fake News Inquiry

A news boy dressed in vintage knickers, newsboy hat and fake long Pinocchio nose stands with a fake newspaper in the middle of a field in Utah, USA. He is trying to sell you fake news.

Parliament will investigate how social media has been used by foreign actors to undermine democracy as part of a parliamentary inquiry into fake news.

Established by Labor and backed by the coalition, the inquiry will look at social media as a whole, particularly focussing on Facebook, Twitter and and Chinese platform WeChat.

Cyber-enabled foreign interference, the spread of misinformation, risks to Australia’s democraxy and the extent of compliance will all be scrutinised as part of the review.

“The rise of ‘fake news’ and misinformation campaigns present a very real and present danger to democracy not only in Australia, but across the globe,” Opposition foreign affairs spokeswoman Penny Wong said.

“We must protect our democracy from malicious foreign actors.”

Wong said the Committe will ensure Australia can “maintain confidence in our democracy”.

“This Committee will examine how social media can be used to undermine Australia’s democracy and values,” Wong said.

“It will look at potential responses to mitigate the risk of cyber-enabled foreign interference and misinformation.”

The inquiry, which was proposed by Labor and is supported by the government, The committee will be chaired by Labor senator Jenny McAllister and is due to produce a final report by May 2022.


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