Politics: Government MUST regulate social media to halt fake news before the next election, say Lords

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SOCIAL media must be regulated to stop the spread of fake news before the next election, a landmark Lords review has ruled.

Online political adverts and campaigns would require a similar “imprint” like paper leaflets so voters know who paid for them under a radical overhaul suggested by respected Peers.

Lord Lipsey, who led the review into fake news, has called on social media to be regulated as well as educating the public to spot propaganda

Fake news Inquiry boss Lord Lipsey hit out: “More needs to be done to better understand that threat and educate the population to spot ‘fake news’ and baseless propaganda online.”

He added: “One concrete step that the Government can take now is to require all online campaign communications to carry an imprint to say who published it, as is the case for the printed material, and give the Electoral Commission the power to police and enforce that rule.”

But his Select Committee on Political Polling and Digital Media did not go as far as they were urged in outlawing publication of opinion polls in the days running up to elections.

Countries like France have far stricter rules and campaigners have urged for a similar clampdown.

Respected peers have suggested social media regulation must be introduced to stop fake news effecting Britain’s next election

Instead they recommend tougher regulations for firms trying to predict the outcome after suggestions they skew the results.

New rules would see firms publish who paid for surveys and more transparency around their methods.

Set up after the 2017 Election, the Committee recommended further probes by Peers and MPs into the threat of social media to democracy.

Lord Lipsey said: “Taken together, a lack of transparency and sometimes inaccurate polls, and the murky world of online political communications, pose an insidious threat to our political system.

Lord Lipsley suggested educating the public to be able to spot fake news and propaganda on social media platforms

“While we may be one of the oldest democracies in the world we must face up to these very contemporary dangers.

He added: “Government, parliament and the polling industry must act now, before the damage goes deeper.”

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