A dozen or more tech companies — including giants of the industry such as Facebook, Google, Twitter, and Microsoft — are set to meet today in advance of the 2018 midterm elections according to The Washington Examiner.
The topic to be placed on the board-room table? How to prevent misinformation or foreign meddling potentially influencing the outcome of the election.
An internal email obtained by Buzzfeed News illustrates that all parties are scheduled to meet in order to discuss increased information security and preventative strategies that can be taken to reduce or minimize the influence that foreign state actors may attempt to exert upon the electoral process. The email was sent by the head of cybersecurity policy for Facebook, Nathaniel Gleicher.
“As I’ve mentioned to several of you over the last few weeks, we have been looking to schedule a follow-on discussion to our industry conversation about information operations, election protection, and the work we are all doing to tackle these challenges.”
According to Business Insider, the email goes on to elaborate upon a tripartite agenda, each of the three prongs targeting some aspect of digital security protocols in the past, present, and future. With Facebook having recently banned 32 pages that it claims were linked to misinformation campaigns co-ordinated to influence American elections, a spotlight has continued to be cast upon dubious digital actors in the current social media landscape.
Microsoft has further claimed in a recent announcement that they have detected Russian hacking attempts against the Republican Party, the news coming weeks after Microsoft had also alleged to have discovered Russian hacking attempts against Democratic Senator Claire McCaskill.
The revelation that there is to be a secretive meeting between the largest technology companies in the world comes on the same day that President Donald Trump excoriated the very same social media companies for alleged censorship of “millions of people” via Twitter.
Social Media Giants are silencing millions of people. Can’t do this even if it means we must continue to hear Fake News like CNN, whose ratings have suffered gravely. People have to figure out what is real, and what is not, without censorship!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 24, 2018
As The Inquisitr reported earlier, House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy had put forth an argument in support of laying subpoena upon Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey, the purpose of which would be to force the tech executive to testify formally on the matter of alleged shadow bans being laid upon right-wing or conservative users of the social media service.
The negotiation between free speech and censorship continues to stoke a partisan divide as right-leaning users complain that their viewpoints are being stifled or muffled by social media moderation while left-leaning users claim that “Russian bots” and other fake profiles are being used to peddle misinformation. Both sides accuse the other of propagandizing and proliferation of “fake news,” with concrete facts often being a casualty of the widening gap between the two political camps.
Whether the efforts of the social media companies will help or hinder the electoral process and the public belief in said institution remains yet to be seen.