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Social media impact on Vic election probed

A public inquiry will investigate the impact of social media and online advertising on Victorian elections.

The state parliament’s Electoral Matters Committee will examine how social media platforms are being used for political communication.

The inquiry will also explore whether regulations that authorise political content on social media are appropriate and if further government action is needed.

“Social media has changed the way we campaign at elections. It gives people instant access to different viewpoints and makes it easy for people to connect with political candidates. But it can also be used to spread fake news or to harass people,” committee chair Lee Tarlamis said in a statement on Wednesday.

“This inquiry will look at different approaches the government can take to reduce the negative impacts of social media and online advertising on our elections, and how we can take advantage of the positive opportunities that social media brings.”

Mr Tarlamis appealed to the public to make submissions to the inquiry before September 30.

Public hearings are expected to be held towards the end of the year, with the committee reporting back to parliament by June 30, 2021.

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