DNC releases tips for campaigns, public to fight disinformation online

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The Democratic National Committee (DNC) released tips Monday for campaigns, state parties, social media companies and the public to fight disinformation online.

“The DNC is committed to harnessing its resources to protect the democratic process in the U.S., but we can’t do it alone,” the group said in a statement. “Digital disinformation is a whole-of-society problem, and it will take a whole-of-society approach.”

The DNC advised campaigns and state parties that they are “not powerless in the fight against online disinformation,” recommending they designate a point person to focus on combating it. It also recommended they stay on top of correcting the record and implementing incident response plans during breaking news situations.

“When misinformation has reached a tipping point, aggressive responses to misinformation that seek to reframe the debate tend to be most effective,” the DNC said.

The committee also suggested campaigns and state parties report any suspicious online behavior.

For the public, the committee recommended people obtain multiple authoritative sources for information, consider the author and their intentions, avoid being manipulated by “divisive or dishonest content,” bring the truth into debates and study the methods of those distributing disinformation.

Disinformation on social media networks has become a central focus heading into 2020 after Russia was accused of spreading fake news stories and interfering in the 2016 election.

The DNC included a list of rules for major social media companies, which condemned companies like Facebook and Google for not refusing to run state-controlled media. It encouraged social media companies, including Twitter, to be transparent about their algorithms, enforce rules on disinformation and develop stronger policies to combat it.

A Twitter spokesperson told The Hill on Tuesday that the company is “committed to fostering free and open democratic debate around the globe.”

“We’ve made significant progress since the 2016 U.S. election to address, mitigate, and prevent future attempts to undermine the integrity of online conversation regarding elections and the democratic process,” the spokesperson said in a statement, citing a ban on state-controlled media announced this year.

Google and Facebook did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

In October, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg defended his company’s decision to keep running political ads.
“Ads can be an important part of voice — especially for candidates and advocacy groups the media might not otherwise cover so they can get their message into debates,” Zuckerberg told investors.
Google has also stood by its political advertisement policy after limiting the ability to micro-target ads in November, a move that prompted complaints from President Trump and the Republican National Committee.
“But we believe the balance we have struck — allowing political ads to remain on our platforms while limiting narrow targeting that can reduce the visibility of ads and trust in electoral processes — is the right one,” a spokesperson said at the time.

Updated on Dec. 17 at 1:33 p.m.

Tags Disinformation DNC Donald Trump Facebook Google Mark Zuckerberg Russia Social media Twitter

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