Shaheen Urges Online Platforms to Take Additional Measures to Stop Voting Related Misinformation and Disinformation

September 21, 2020

 **U.S. Intelligence Agencies have confirmed Russia is trying to interfere in the election through social media**

(Washington, DC)  – U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) and a group of Senators sent a letter to Facebook, Instagram, Google, Twitter and YouTube, urging executives to take further measures to stop voting related misinformation and disinformation. The Intelligence Community has confirmed that Russia is trying to influence and undermine the election through social media, and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has warned that foreign actors may leverage limited understanding regarding the mail-in voting processes to mislead and confuse the public. DHS’ July intelligence bulletin, which the agency inappropriately halted the release of,  found that Russia continues to target presidential candidates to influence the election. A September bulletin issued to law enforcement warned that Russia is amplifying criticism of the vote-by-mail process in order to undermine the election. The letter was led by U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-MN). 

“As our country grapples with the spread of information designed to sow division and reduce Americans’ confidence in the integrity of our elections, weak policies and poor enforcement of platform rules are damaging our democracy.” the Senators wrote.

The Senators continued, “One report found that in 2019 alone, politically relevant disinformation reached over 158 million American users. Another recent report showed that nearly half of all top-performing posts on Facebook that mentioned voting by mail were false or misleading. Some researchers have concluded that despite efforts from online platforms to curb the spread of disinformation, more disinformation is reaching users ahead of the 2020 election than before the 2016 election…”

“We appreciate the steps you’ve taken since the 2016 elections to make your platforms more resilient against foreign interference, including working more closely with federal agencies and election officials. In the 47 days before the general election, we urge you to take additional actions to stop the exploitation of your platforms and protect the integrity of our democracy,” concluded the Senators.

Full text of the letter can be found HERE.

Senator Shaheen has led efforts in Congress to hold Russia accountable for its aggression and election interference. Because of her role as a negotiator on Russia sanctions legislation known as “CAATSA” and her successful efforts to ban Kaspersky Lab software from operating on U.S. systems, Shaheen was sanctioned by the Kremlin in 2017. Senator Shaheen has been warning of the Kremlin’s continued interference and she herself has been the target of a hacking attempt.