FOCUS: Fake Info Misleading Voters Online in Election Campaigning

Society

Tokyo, Oct. 26 (Jiji Press)--Fake information and slurs apparently targeting certain candidates running for House of Representatives seats are flooding the internet, misleading voters ahead of the general election set for Sunday.

In the real world, anonymous documents with unconfirmed information are distributed every time an election approaches. Eight years since online campaigning was given the green light, that tradition is now part of the online sphere too, as social media such as Twitter has become an indispensable tool for candidates.

"I wrote a blog as a fictitious person to cause reputational damage to the contenders," an online contractor said in a statement read in October last year during the trial of former House of Councillors member Anri Kawai over a large-scale vote-buying scandal for the 2019 Upper House election.

At the instruction of former Justice Minister Katsuyuki Kawai, Anri's husband, the contractor posted an online comment claiming that the Hiroshima prefectural chapter of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party was bullying her and trying to make her lose the election, according to the statement.

The contractor also said the person made comments critical of Katsuyuki Kawai less likely to appear in online search results ahead of the 2017 Lower House election.

[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]

Jiji Press