Oct 26, 2019

Census Bureau builds war room to battle misinformation

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The Census Bureau is working directly with major tech platforms like Google, Twitter and Facebook to inform people "about the mechanics of the census and to stamp out inaccurate information that’s swirling around" on the 2020 count, AP reports.

Why it matters: This is the first time that census officials have declared such an active battle against misinformation, per AP — and already false social media posts on the 2020 census have surfaced online and attracted thousands of views.

What's happening: The bureau wants to build automated answers to census-related questions for Apple’s Siri and Amazon’s Alexa, AP reports, and census officials have worked with Google to find terms to direct internet searches to official census sites.

Background: Security officials and social media giants have warned that new countries, specifically Iran and China, could pose misinformation threats to U.S. elections in 2020 similar to Russia's interference in 2016.

Go deeper: 2020 misinformation threats extend beyond Russia

Go deeper

How online ad targeting weaponizes political misinformation

Photo Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Ad targeting is how Facebook, Google and other online giants won the internet. It's also key to understanding why these companies are being held responsible for warping elections and undermining democracy.

The big picture: Critics and tech companies are increasingly considering whether limiting targeting of political ads might be one way out of the misinformation maze.

Security agencies warn Russia, China, Iran aim to interfere in 2020 election

Photo: Brendan Smialowski/AFP via Getty Images

The heads of government agencies including the FBI, Department of Justice and National Security Agency warned in a joint security statement Tuesday that foreign actors would seek to interfere in the 2020 election.

Russia, China, Iran, and other foreign malicious actors all will seek to interfere in the voting process or influence voter perceptions."
Go deeperArrowNov 6, 2019

Tech companies target your sanity

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Several of the biggest social media platforms are beginning to test changes that cut down on scorekeeping, discourage harassment and aim to improve users' well-being.

Why it matters: The unwinding of features such as public "like" counts could have a major impact on the multi-billion dollar businesses of social media companies, as well as the millions of brands and creators that rely on those features to fuel their own businesses.

Go deeperArrowNov 12, 2019