Overnight Technology

Hillicon Valley — Musk boosts GOP ahead of Election Day

Happy Election Day eve! We’re kicking things off with a look at new Twitter CEO Elon Musk’s urge for “independent-minded voters” to back GOP candidates, and some more updates and reactions to Musk’s Twitter takeover.  

This is Hillicon Valley, detailing all you need to know about tech and cyber news from Capitol Hill to Silicon Valley. Send tips to The Hill’s Rebecca Klar and Ines Kagubare.


Musk tells independents to vote for GOP

Elon Musk on Monday encouraged “independent-minded voters” to cast their ballots for Republicans in Tuesday’s midterm congressional contests as a check on President Biden.

“To independent-minded voters: Shared power curbs the worst excesses of both parties, therefore I recommend voting for a Republican Congress, given that the Presidency is Democratic,” Musk wrote on Twitter. 

“Hardcore Democrats or Republicans never vote for the other side, so independent voters are the ones who actually decide who’s in charge!” he added. 

Musk closed his deal to buy Twitter late last month and has signaled he will relax content moderation on the site after a “council” reviews the platform’s current policies, raising alarm among civil rights groups who believe the changes will cause an increase in misinformation and hate speech on Twitter. 

Read more here

To moderate misinfo, or not — that is the question

Twitter under new CEO Elon Musk published rules for the platform Monday, but the new rules did not include the platform’s policies about misinformation and added to the confusion about what content will be allowed on Twitter under his control.  

Musk said the rules will “evolve over time,” but the rules he linked to on Monday did not offer guidance on how the company will address false claims on the platform — an issue critics have been sounding the alarm on since Musk closed his $44 billion deal. 

The new rules do explicitly prohibit action such as the glorification of violence, promotion of terrorism, child sexual exploitation and targeted harassment. They also seek to limit users from impersonating others and from publishing other people’s private information. 

But the Twitter Rules shared by Musk to his 114 million followers do not reference some of the policies the platform had in place before Musk took over the company as part of his $44 billion acquisition, including rules to mitigate misinformation about COVID-19 or crisis misinformation about areas in conflict, such as Ukraine. 

Spokespeople for Twitter have not responded to multiple requests for comment from The Hill to clarify how the new rules impact enforcement of misinformation policies. 

Read more here.

DILLER’S PREDICTION

Media mogul Barry Diller on Monday likened Elon Musk’s acquisition of Twitter to the billionaire buying a “toy” and said the platform is likely to shrink under his leadership. 

“You’ve got this extraordinarily wealthy person, and he bought a toy. He bought a toy, and how long he will use it, like toys, we don’t really know, but he’s not going to walk away, I don’t think,” Diller said on CNBC’s “Squawk Box.” 

The Expedia and IAC chairman said he thinks Musk will make some positive changes but said he doesn’t expect the app to expand its share of the social media space.  

“Twitter will be better. It will be smaller,” Diller said. 

Read more here

Congress tackles cyber threats in health sector

Congress is increasingly sounding the alarm over cyber threats targeting the health care sector.

Several congressional lawmakers have stepped up their efforts to protect the industry amid a rise in cyberattacks by introducing policies and recommendations aimed at addressing and mitigating such threats. 

“Over the past decade, the American public has witnessed increasingly brazen and disruptive attacks on its health care sector that jeopardize sensitive personal information, delay treatment, and ultimately lead to increased suffering and death,” Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.), chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, noted in a report published this week, before outlining recommendations on ways the federal government can improve security standards in the sector to combat those attacks. 

  • The report, which is divided into three sections, recommends that the federal government improve the country’s cybersecurity risk posture in the health care sector, help the private sector mitigate cyber threats and assist health care providers in responding to and recovering from cyberattacks.
  • “The senator’s report addresses areas of weakness that hospitals have worked tirelessly to mitigate for a long time,” said Christopher Plummer, a senior cybersecurity architect at Dartmouth Health.
  • “Just seeing an acknowledgement of this in writing, and from this level of the government, gives a lot of hope,” Plummer added. 

Read more here.

WHOOPI SAYS ADIOS TO TWITTER

Whoopi Goldberg says she’s quitting Twitter in the wake of Elon Musk’s takeover but that she could be convinced to come back “if it settles down.”

The leading co-host of ABC’s “The View” shared her decision with the show’s audience on Monday and tweeted a goodbye message shortly thereafter. 

“To everyone, Thanks for everything! Until we meet again! Love, Whoop,” the comedian and pundit wrote. 

During her on-air remarks, Goldberg, who has tweeted only once every several weeks recently, said she was leaving the platform because she is uncomfortable with proposed changes to content moderation policies rolled out by Musk. 

Read more here

👾 BITS & PIECES

An op-ed to chew on: Twitter needs to change, so let’s give Musk a chance 

Notable links from around the web: 

Midterms are trending on TikTok. No, not those midterms. (NBC News / Kat Tenbarge) 

6 election security threats to watch for on Election Day (Politico / Eric Geller) 

Biggest Surge of Misinformation May Arrive After Election Day, Researchers Say (The New York Times / Stuart Thompson) 

🐕 Lighter click: Time for my nap 

One more thing: Musk, Dorsey clash over feature

Elon Musk and Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey argued on Sunday over Musk’s decision to rename the platform’s feature that allows users to write contextual notes on misleading tweets.

Musk in a tweet said his mission for Twitter is for the platform to “become by far the most accurate source of information about the world,” sparking a series of back-and-forth messages that started with Dorsey asking “accurate to who?” 

“As judged by the people of Twitter via Community Notes (formerly Birdwatch),” Musk wrote back. 

“I still think…Birdwatch is a far better name and ‘more informative’ a far better goal,” Dorsey responded. 

Read more here

That’s it for today, thanks for reading. Check out The Hill’s Technology and Cybersecurity pages for the latest news and coverage. We’ll see you tomorrow.

Tags Biden content moderation Elon Musk Elon Musk Jack Dorsey Mark Warner Twitter

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