ASSISTANT Trade, Tourism and Investment Minister Keith Pitt has taken aim at anonymous keyboard warriors using fake social media accounts, saying they lack the courage to put their real names to lies and misinformation.
Mr Pitt said in a statement today he’d had enough of people hiding behind fake social media accounts to promote lies and cons that cause distress in the community.
He said another fake Facebook account had been set up using his image and name in a bid to promote false information.
But this isn’t just a sneaky political game – it has far reaching implications for people in this electorate, the Queensland Nationals MP for the rural seat of Hinkler said.
“These keyboard warriors don’t even have the courage to put their name to the claims they make on social media - they can say whatever they want, most of which they know is totally untrue, that’s why they don’t put their real name to it.”
But Mr Pitt said there was a warning for the general public and that was to be more aware of what you read, what you take to be truth and what you act on if you don’t want to be taken for a ride.
“The community as a whole needs to stand up against these cons that in the best form merely spread lies, but in their worst form can lead to people losing money, reputation and causing severe stress,” he said.
“If you come across a fake Facebook page, or you read content online that is suspicious, do your homework so you don’t get sucked in.
“If it is suspicious, report it - get the page taken down.
“Don’t just be a passive bystander because their next victim could be teenager who isn’t so cyber-savvy or a senior who is new to the internet.”
Mr Pitt said letters to the editor were a traditional forum for community members to promote their opinions and pose questions but authors needed to provide their name and contact details to verify their identities.
He said if those letter writers needed to be verified “why don’t we force social media cowards to prove their identities as well?”
“They have no credibility when we can’t trace them because they use a pseudonym like ‘dodgy demon’ to identify themselves,” he said.
“I think our media outlets have a role to play in this regard to protect their readers, listeners and viewers.”
Mr Pitt’s statement said anyone concerned about a fake Facebook page should report it to Facebook and any scams should be reported to Scamwatch: www.scamwatch.gov.au or call 1300 795 995.