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Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

A large collection of nonprofits is sending an open letter today calling on the incoming Biden-Harris administration to do a better job of both educating the public on misinformation and taking stronger action to protect the health care system, voting process and other critical institutions.

Why it matters: Misinformation amplified on social media has worn down the factual foundations of democracy and led to an upsurge in conspiracy theories on everything from the 2020 election results to how COVID-19 spreads.

Details: The letter makes a number of proposals, including adding a disinformation expert to the COVID-19 vaccine effort, creating a national site for debunking misinformation modeled on CISA’s “Rumor Control” site and tapping the Education Department to develop media literacy standards.

  • The groups also want the Justice Department to apply the Voting Rights Act to online voter suppression efforts.
  • Signatories include dozens of mostly left-leaning groups, ranging from Common Cause to Greenpeace USA to New America's Open Technology Institute and the Secure Elections Network.

Between the lines: Organizers, which include Accountable Tech, MapLight and Avaaz, say the goal of the effort was to figure out what's doable in an administration with a lot on its plate — understanding that tech priorities may not be first in line.

What they're saying: "Your administration faces urgent and unprecedented challenges, from steering us past a deadly pandemic to reversing the decay of our democratic institutions," the groups wrote in the letter.

  • "It’s a daunting to-do list, and our intention is not to add new items. Rather, we encourage you to recognize disinformation as a ubiquitous and foundational impediment to tackling those challenges."

Go deeper

Trump's four-year information war

Photo illustration: Brendan Lynch. Photos: Doug Mills-Pool/Getty Images

Last week's riot at the Capitol was many things, but perhaps chiefly it was the culmination of four years of information warfare waged against the country from within the Oval Office.

Why it matters: A sprawling disinformation campaign led by President Trump — and buttressed by his allies in the media, online and in Congress — has severely destabilized the U.S. and makes further acts of violence and would-be insurrection a near certainty.

Updated 51 mins ago - World

Australia joins U.S. in diplomatic boycott of Beijing Winter Olympics

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison. Photo: Darrian Traynor/Getty Images

Australia is joining the U.S. in a diplomatic boycott of the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympic Games in protest of human rights abuses committed by China's government, Prime Minister Scott Morrison confirmed Wednesday.

Driving the news: After the Biden administration's announcement that U.S. officials won't attend the Games due to the ongoing genocide of Uighurs and other Muslim minorities in the Xinjiang region of China, Morrison said at a Sydney briefing that Australia would follow suit as "it's the right thing to do."

Progressives to file resolution to strip Boebert's committee seats

Rep. Lauren Boebert walking through the Senate side of the U.S. Capitol earlier this month. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

House progressives are planning to introduce a resolution on Wednesday to strip Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-Colo.) of her committee assignments, according to a Democratic aide familiar with the matter.

Why it matters: The move, which was first reported by the Washington Post, comes as progressives — anxious to see the right-wing firebrand face retribution for her recent comments — have grown frustrated by Democratic leadership's inaction on the issue.

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