Josh Rivera, USA TODAY
Published 7:28 p.m. ET Aug. 12, 2020 | Updated 8:26 p.m. ET Aug. 12, 2020
Tech giants are coming together looking to protect the U.S. presidential election.
Facebook, Google, Microsoft and others released a statement Wednesday saying they were forming a coalition to promote discussions with government agencies to secure the November presidential election.
The coalition includes: Facebook, Google, Twitter, Reddit, Microsoft, Verizon media, Pinterest, LinkedIn (owned by Microsoft) and the Wikimedia Foundation.
“For the past several years, we have worked closely to counter information operations across our platforms. In preparation for the upcoming election, we regularly meet to discuss trends with U.S. government agencies tasked with protecting the integrity of the election,” the statement reads.
The effort is meant to prevent a repeat of the 2016 elections, where foreign actors launched online disinformation campaigns to interfere in the process.
“We held the latest in a series of meetings with government partners today where we each provided updates on what we're seeing on our respective platforms and what we expect to see in the coming months,” the message continued. “Specifically, we discussed preparations for the upcoming conventions and scenario planning related to election results. We will continue to stay vigilant on these issues and meet regularly ahead of the November election.”
In 2018, special counsel Robert Mueller’s report into Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential campaign detailed an elaborate and sophisticated Kremlin-led operation to sow division in the U.S.
When USA TODAY reviewed the ads created by the Russian company charged with orchestrating a wide-ranging effort to meddle in the 2016 presidential election, we found that it consistently promoted ads designed to inflame race-related tensions.
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Facebook said in October it was strengthening how it verified groups and people who place political advertising on its site. Twitter has recently been strengthening its moderation on misinformation on the site.
Contributing: Nick Penzenstadler, Brad Heath and Jessica Guynn.
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