Thursday, August 2, 2018

Lawmakers Want to Broaden Focus of Social Media Threats

A group of bipartisan lawmakers said Wednesday that they want to broaden the focus of their look at social media interference against the U.S. beyond just election manipulation efforts, reports The Hill.

During a Senate Intelligence Committee hearing, lawmakers said the issue of foreign governments using internet platforms to interfere in U.S. affairs extends beyond any single election.

"We know it was far broader than we originally thought. We know that no single entity ... by itself can effectively stop foreign influence operations on social media," said Sen. Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.)

Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.), the committee's top Democrat, cautioned that political interference would be "small compared to the overall threats."

Warner, along with Republicans like Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas), pointed to the potential for other countries to try to manipulate U.S. energy and financial markets.

The legislators expressed concern that hackers could take advantage of the rapid pace at which information moves on social media in order to spread misinformation.

Meanwhile, The Senate Intelligence Committee announced Wednesday it will question executives from Facebook and other social media companies on Sept. 5 in the wake of Facebook's revelation of a new disinformation campaign aimed at the midterm elections.

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