Don’t believe everything you read, AEC warns voters

The Australian Electoral Commission has launched a social media campaign urging voters not to be duped by misleading information they see during the federal election campaign.

The AEC’s Stop and Consider campaign has been launched as fears of interference in elections through social media grow.

The commission will target the misinformation at the source, using advertising on the social media to remind voters to check the source of electoral communication in the lead-up to the May 18 poll.

“A federal election is a contest of ideas, and electoral laws do not regulate the truth of electoral communications,” the campaign’s material says.

“It’s important that you consider what you see, hear or read.”

Electoral Commissioner Tom Rogers said Stop and Consider was not intended to install the AEC as the “umpire” of political debate – but, rather, to help make sure people were not misled.

“Australian voters have the freedom and right to express a political opinion or critique an election policy, either in-person or via social media,” he said.

“The key official source for voters to know what they have to do to participate successfully at this federal election is the AEC.”

There was no serious evidence of people or organisations seeking to disrupt Australian elections through disinformation, Mr Rogers said, but the vigilance was wise given events in other parts of the world.

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