Ireland Considers Criminalizing Sharing “Fake News”

A new bill introduced in Ireland could criminalize fake news.  The bill was introduced by James Lawless (yes, a man who introduced a heavy-handed bill he aims to turn into a draconian law is named Lawless).  The bill ostensibly aims to stop the spreading fake news, with no particular definition of exactly what “fake news” is.  I can only presume that the role of defining ‘fake news’ falls to the government.


New bill set to tackle ‘fake news’ online

A new bill has been introduced in the Dáil to try and combat fake news online.

Fianna Fáil TD James Lawless has introduced the Online Advertising and Social Media (Transparency) Bill 2017.

It aims to ensure integrity within the online political sphere and tackle the rise of phoney accounts and orchestrated online campaigns on various social media networks.

The bill contains a number of measures aimed at exposing those that engage in “false flag” and deceptive advertising.

The move comes after a recent report examining social media use during the 2016 US presidential election found that 126 million people were shown Facebook adverts which purported to be from local campaign pages – but were in fact created and spread by Russian entities.

Online political advertising is not currently subject to the same level of regulation as offline or print political campaigns.

Deputy Lawless said: “We live in an age when online and social media is at least as influential as traditional media platforms.

“People are consuming more and more news online and social media platforms are playing a greater role in shaping political debate.

“However despite this the same rigour and robustness does not apply to verifying online content as our laws are still playing catch up in this area.

“If an organisation erected 1,000 posters in a town without disclosing who they were or who funded them, it would be a clear breach of the electoral laws.

“Yet the same thing can be done online in an instant and there is no obligation for any transparency at present.

“The bill I have introduced will bring this transparency to the process by compelling any online advertising for political purposes to state exactly who published and paid for the advert and what the target market is.”


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Paul Gordon is the publisher and editor of iState.TV. He has published and edited newspapers, poetry magazines and online weekly magazines. He is the director of Social Cognito, an SEO/Web Marketing Company. You can reach Paul at