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Coe targeted in fake news social media campaign

Dominic Giannini 2 March 2020 34
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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34 Responses to Coe targeted in fake news social media campaign
Matthew James Matthew James 5:42 pm 04 Mar 20

Gosh, next thing you know, somebody will be forging somebody’s travel expenses to make them look bad....

Lucy Baker Lucy Baker 10:40 pm 03 Mar 20

Sounds like a GetUp tactic.

Benjy Murphy Benjy Murphy 10:13 pm 03 Mar 20

He probably did it all himself for attention 😂

Robyn Holder Robyn Holder 9:37 pm 03 Mar 20

There are plenty of true things to say against the Libs. Why bother using their tactics and start lying? Why would you copy the working model of monsters?

HiddenDragon HiddenDragon 8:33 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…….?

Darren Bryant Darren Bryant 7:48 pm 02 Mar 20

Somebody call the AFP 💁🏽‍♂️

Riley Helmling Riley Helmling 7:37 pm 02 Mar 20

Ahhh, dezinfomatziya. Gotta love it

Chris Cross Chris Cross 3:33 pm 02 Mar 20

Blame has automatically been attributed to “political opponents”... how convenient. It could have been anyone, including a Liberal staffer trying to give their boss some sympathy votes. This is a non-issue and a distraction for the important issues.

Malcolm Campbell Malcolm Campbell 3:32 pm 02 Mar 20

Politics is not for the thin skinned. You have to be 10 percent mungerall I sure that’s not spelt correct and also remember which lies you told to which people

Sue Sutton Sue Sutton 3:10 pm 02 Mar 20

How do you know it was posted by their opponents?

Paul Rutherford Paul Rutherford 3:06 pm 02 Mar 20

Couldn't be worse than the real thing 🤣😅 Must be the Russians....

Peter Mackay Peter Mackay 2:23 pm 02 Mar 20

Looks like the Labor trolls are on the case here, so it seems like a well run social media operation is in play.

Pity, really. Democracy relies on freedom of speech, but when Trumpian tactics are used, one wonders whether the ALP has the common good in mind, or more selfish objectives.

    Justin Watson Justin Watson 3:54 pm 02 Mar 20

    I'm failing to see where freedom of speech has been stopped. You can say whatever you want, but be prepared to defend that and back it up with verifiable facts and not just thoughts and opinions you think are correct. Unfortunately, politics has descended into a battle of feelings and opinions and we'll ignore experts and facts cause they don't win elections.

    Peter Mackay Peter Mackay 5:17 pm 02 Mar 20

    Who said there was any interruption to freedom of speech by trolls trolling?

    It’s not people discussing politics I mind. Democracy relies on the marketplace of ideas.

    It’s the lies and nonsense that comes from one-eyed partisan ideologues.

    Don Trump, to illustrate my point, is at perfect liberty to discourse on political issues.

    The fact that most of it is the purest baby poo crap is the problem.

    Why does partisan politics so often rely on lying and malevolence? What sort of nation are we building?

    If Labor had any decency, they would denounce untruth, not condone it.

    Ashley Wright Ashley Wright 9:41 pm 02 Mar 20

    Peter Mackay I laughed when I read you say “It’s the lies and nonsense that comes from one-eyed partisan ideologues.”

    Why I laughed is your post is a perfect example of just that. And not to mention your reference to trolling, because again your post is another perfect example of exactly that. But gather that is all ok?

    Justin Watson Justin Watson 11:10 am 03 Mar 20

    Ashley Wright It is not though. Most of what comes out of Donald Trumps mouth is lacking any verifiable source to back him up. The issue is idealogues attack the factual sources and try and discredit scientists, engineers, doctors and experts in general if they don't support them. Then they try and pass facts off as opinions, to make their opinions look valid.

Brad Rogers Brad Rogers 2:16 pm 02 Mar 20

How to tell if it's the real Alister Coe? Offer an idea that's progressive. If he says no, then it's the real deal. That's our Alister Coe!

    Justin Watson Justin Watson 3:52 pm 02 Mar 20

    You could probably offer an idea that is moderate or right-leaning and he'd say No.

Michelle Fitzpatrick Michelle Fitzpatrick 1:45 pm 02 Mar 20

I’ve always found Alister Coe very pleasant and easy to talk to on the odd occasion that I have spoken to him.

A young local guy who is down to earth and truely concerned for our city.

He cannot be any worse than the party we have been enduring in our city for too long now. Who is turning our once beautiful, clean city into an eye sore.

    Paula Simcocks Paula Simcocks 1:46 pm 02 Mar 20

    Michelle Fitzpatrick I have voted Greens or Labor and I have still found Alister Coe a genuine nice person

    Michelle Fitzpatrick Michelle Fitzpatrick 1:51 pm 02 Mar 20

    Paula Simcocks I’m not a strict voter for either party, I vote for whom I believe is right for the time.

    But his personality is very pleasant.

    Michelle Fitzpatrick Michelle Fitzpatrick 3:28 pm 02 Mar 20

    Mark Huppert Canberra is more than just the Civic precinct.

    I’ve lived here in this region all of my life so have certainly noticed the change in how neglected our city has become.

    Chris Cross Chris Cross 3:30 pm 02 Mar 20

    ”Very pleasant and easy to talk to” does not mean you vote for the guy!!! This isn’t a beauty pageant, it’s about electing someone who has the RIGHT POLICIES that best represents us!! I’m sure every politician is nice and pleasant to talk to... especially in an election year.

    Michelle Fitzpatrick Michelle Fitzpatrick 3:34 pm 02 Mar 20

    Chris Cross I didn’t say I would vote for him, please read comments properly.

    But it doesn’t help them if politicians do not have an unapproachable manner. After all they are suppose to be here to serve us and the interests of their constituency, aren’t they?.

    Justin Watson Justin Watson 3:51 pm 02 Mar 20

    He might be nice and pleasant, but that is not a reason to vote for him. Personally, I despised Tony Abbott as a PM, however as a person, I can only applaud him as someone who volunteers his time in the community. The ACT Liberals should have won the last two elections, but all they did was try and spread fear and paranoia and play the politics of jealousy with southside voters. As much as people want to complain about the current government when you compare what they've done and how well Canberra is doing compared to other cities in Australia, it is hard to complain. We can complain about rates, but we are right on average for Australia. Cheapest electricity in Australia also, ordinarily a government would be criticised for high electricity prices, yet here in the ACT we know have the cheapest and it barely gets a mention from the typical whingers. A lot of the stuff like housing costs are a national problem. Why would anyone take the risk and vote the ACT Liberals in? Things are perfect, but they have yet to make me think they would improve anything. As much as high rates are not great, most of our rates go to Healthcare, which is probably the main negative for the government.

    Jeff Smith Jeff Smith 3:36 pm 03 Mar 20

    Justin Watson What makes you say we have the cheapest Electricity in Australia? The last report from the Energy Market Commision had us more expensive than NSW and VIC and only behind the small States for charges. Also, what makes you say the ACT is right on average for annual Rates fees and charges? This doesn't match with the rates calculators available on-line and media reports.

James Kozanecki James Kozanecki 1:28 pm 02 Mar 20

I mean it's not like a fake account could come up with worse policies...

Tim Cole Tim Cole 11:49 am 02 Mar 20

Difficult to tell the truth...

Stephen Saunders Stephen Saunders 11:46 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.

John Williams John Williams 11:29 am 02 Mar 20

Who is Alistair Coe ? Have I missed something?

Helen Stephenson Helen Stephenson 11:11 am 02 Mar 20

How do you k is who did this! Hope it’s not just like the Liberal Government blaming labour for everything!

Mal Briggs Mal Briggs 11:09 am 02 Mar 20

You've gotta admire the subtlety, it works because it's plausible.

Most fake accounts try to make outlandish claims like death taxes.

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