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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.

Biden plans to keep Christopher Wray as FBI director

FBI Director Christopher Wray at a virtual DOJ news briefing on Oct. 28. Photo: Sarah Silbiger/pool/AFP via Getty Images

President Biden plans to keep Christopher Wray as director of the FBI, CNN first reported and an administration official confirmed to Axios.

The big picture: Wray, who was nominated by former President Trump in 2017 after he fired former FBI Director James Comey, came under heavy criticism from Trump and his allies over the past year.

2 hours ago - World

Netanyahu and Israel reluctantly adjust to a post-Trump Washington

Netanyahu (R) and Biden in 2010. Photo: Avi Ohayon/GPO via Getty

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his close aides are very nervous about the transition to a new U.S. administration after a four-year honeymoon with Donald Trump. One Israeli official told me it felt like going through detox.

What he's saying: Netanyahu congratulated Biden minutes after he was sworn in, saying in a statement that he looked forward to working together to "continue expanding peace between Israel and the Arab world and to confront common challenges, chief among them the threat posed by Iran."

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