Federal Election 2022: AEC launches new campaign to crack down on disinformation | West Central Daily


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“Nutty” election conspiracy theories spreading on social media are being publicly debunked in a new misinformation registry launched on the eve of the federal campaign. The Australian Electoral Commission will use the register to correct false claims and theories that have gained traction online, as it prepares for an increase in misinformation as Election Day approaches. One expert questioned the commission’s proactive approach, saying the election body should avoid engaging in misinformation and instead focus on promoting the facts. But the commission boss says staying silent could lend credence to lies circulating on the internet. The new register will list the misinformation, the date it was detected online, the social platform on which it is spreading and the actions taken by the commission to counter it. A statement correcting the false allegation will be published directly under the misinformation. The commission stressed that it is not the “arbiter of truth” on political communication, but will call out misrepresentations about the conduct of Australia’s election. The register will work in tandem with the commission’s Twitter account, which has begun to directly denounce the false allegations with sometimes direct and humorous responses. “We mean business,” Australian Electoral Commissioner Tom Rogers said when the register was posted online on Monday. “The Australian vote belongs to all Australians and there is freedom of political communication. However, if you spread incorrect information about the processes we carry out – whether deliberately or not – we will correct you.” The register already includes 16 misinformation across nine categories, including COVID-19 safety measures, political neutrality and voting technology. It will be updated before and during the federal election campaign, which is due to begin next month. that the commission was informed in advance of the date of the federal elections. The new resource shows that when this false claim was detected online last August, the commission released a pre-recorded video through its social media channels to counter the theory. registry was that the commission planned to use Dominion voting machines, which were at the center of conspiracy theories for the 2020 US elections. In an interview with The Canberra Times, Mr Rogers said claims that Dominion machines allegedly implicated in the Australian election had become widespread, prompting the commission to intervene. The new register makes it clear that voting machines cannot be used under Australian election laws. “We think he [spreading of Dominion claim] is a deliberate attempt to undermine the status of the AEC and therefore cast doubt on the outcome,” he said. “It’s so crazy it’s unbelievable. We think if we remain silent on this stuff it gives a lot of credit.” Simon Copland, a doctoral student at the Australian National University who specializes in far-right extremism and disinformation, said the election result 2020 had shown how misinformation could undermine trust in an electoral system and therefore the tenure of elected representatives.Mr Copland said it was important Australia tackled the problem before “He doesn’t escalate, but he was wary of the Election Commission‘s approach. Were likely to antagonize formal institutions such as the Election Commission and summoning them publicly could reinforce their view.” countering them is to convey the most positive messages about the electoral process, without having to name the disinformation itself,” he said. “So instead of saying here is a myth and here’s a fact – just talk about the facts and just talk positively about the process itself.” Rogers said experts were divided on the best approach to tackling misinformation. He said that among the tactics used in recent weeks was responding to the false claims with the same tweet, which mentioned he had spoken about the issue before and linked to an FAQ and a video explanation. “That’s our only response. We’re not correcting the record – we’re just pointing out the facts,” he said.



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