2 March 2020

Coe targeted in fake news social media campaign

| Dominic Giannini
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Canberra Liberals' leader Alistair Coe

Canberra Liberals’ leader Alistair Coe has had his name attributed to a fake post for the second time in two weeks. Photo: File.

Canberra Liberals’ leader Alistair Coe has been hit by a second fake social media post in as many weeks from an imposter looking to spread fake news around the Liberals’ policies.

An unknown account posing as Mr Coe tried to post a comment on the RiotACT stating that the Canberra Liberals believed Stage 2 of the light rail was “unnecessary and another arrogant act by the Barr government”.

region comment

The fake post on the Riotact’s comment section. Image: Region Media.

The Canberra Liberals’ have backed Stage 2 of the light rail in principle, but have questioned whether the Government was still committed to Stage 2 in the wake of Labor’s federal election loss and Bill Shorten’s promise of $200 million to the project.

“The Canberra Liberals remain open to light rail, remain open to Stage 2 of light rail, but it has to stack up,” Mr Coe told the National Press Club in October 2019.

“It is coming at a cost of $60 million a year with revenue at about $5 million per year. So a disparity of $55 million per year is significant.

“You cannot go into Stage 2 or 3 or 4 or 5 lightly. You have got to do it at the right time, at the right cost, with the right technology. We need an evidence-based approach to light rail.”

The comments from the fake accounts have been deleted by RiotACT moderators.

There is no evidence at the moment to suggest the two posts are linked.

The attribution of the post to Mr Coe has put Canberran politicians and the media on notice, coming just over two weeks after a fake Facebook post originated on Reddit posing as the Liberal leader.

fake post

The fake post circulated on Reddit and Twitter just over two weeks ago. Image: Twitter.

The fake Facebook status, under Mr Coe’s name and with the same profile picture, labelled climate change a “conspiracy” and blamed the devastating bushfires season on arson – a claim that has been routinely debunked.

The fake post spread through Twitter and was shared by politicians and prominent social media pages, including ACT Green’s leader Shane Rattenbury and Unions ACT.

The post prompted Mr Coe to call for integrity in reporting and in the promotion of social media posts.

The Canberra Liberals told Region Media that while it is naturally disappointing their political opponents would engage in dirty tricks, the Liberals would not allow it to distract them.

They did not wish to comment further.

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Sounds like a GetUp tactic.

HiddenDragon8:33 pm 02 Mar 20

“Light rail has costed Canberra billions………….especially in the Gungahlin area…….to continuing to operating……rather than overcosted trams”

Tut tut – how could this possibly be the work of a graduate of Canberra’s world-leading education system…….?

Stephen Saunders11:46 am 02 Mar 20

Very naughty. But it does kind of look, like Coe Unplugged.

Let’s see, at next election. With any luck, ACT Libs (plus Jon Stanhope) will once again advise 250K voters that they’re wrong about rail.

Fake accounts: trial balloons or stalking horses?

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