The Government is planning a new law to clamp down on paid-for political advertising on social media.

The development follows significant concerns about the misuse of social media in recent foreign elections.

There have also been issues about material from anonymous or hidden accounts which has been blamed for swaying debate in some electoral contests abroad.

Political advertisements which are paid for on social media will now be required to be clearly labelled under new laws planned by the Government.

The Department of Housing Planning and Local Government is to draft legislation to regulate political advertising within election periods.

The plan is for the new laws to protect the integrity of elections, ensure they are free and fair and not controlled by a narrow range of interests, the Government said.

In a statement it added that the "the obligation will be placed on the seller to determine that an advert falls under the scope of the regulation."

It said: "Online paid-for political advertisement will be required to be labelled as such as clearly display certain information or a link to the information in a clear and conspicuous manner."