In September 2021, the multi-party Electoral Matters Committee of the Parliament of Victoria released an extensive report, the findings of its inquiry into the impact of social media on elections and electoral administration.
The Australia Institute surveyed a representative sample of 600 Victorians with questions about truth in politics and social media in Victoria, based on recommendations from the inquiry.
The results show that:
- Four in five Victorians (82%) support the introduction of truth in political advertising laws, with only 6% opposed.
- Support is highest among Coalition voters (88% support), followed by Labor voters (85% support).
- Four in five Victorians (78%–90%) agree with six propositions around truth in political advertising and disinformation, including that it should be illegal to publish material that pretends to be from an electoral commission, political party or election candidate and that there should be a public online ad library.
- Seven in 10 Victorians (72%) agreed that social media platforms should verify users’ identities but over half of Victorians (53%) would be somewhat or very uncomfortable giving social media platforms a copy of identifying documents.
- Over half of respondents (54%) agreed that being able to remain anonymous online is important.
- Two in five Victorians (39%) either think they have or definitely have interacted with or followed an account they later realised was fake.