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False election claims spark push for truth in political advertising laws

May 20, 2019 / The Guardian

Integrity experts say the patently false and “scandalous” claims spread during the election give renewed impetus for truth in political advertising laws, saying reform is now a “no-brainer”. The election was littered with false and exaggerated claims, many of which were propagated by fringe groups on social media and amplified by major parties. An invention claiming Labor planned to introduce a death tax, for example, appears to have begun on unsourced Facebook pages, spread to other users via direct messages and paid ads, before finally being amplified by Coalition politicians. Guardian Australia’s project to monitor hidden campaigning on social media began to pick up claims about a Labor “death tax” in mid-April, when users received direct Facebook messages stating “Labor, the Greens and Unions have signed an agreement to introduce a 40% inheritance tax”.