Can tech companies help fight U.S. Census misinformation?
The U.S. election isn’t the only 2020 event threatened to be disrupted by misinformation.
Reuters reported Wednesday that the U.S. Census Bureau has asked Google, Facebook and Twitter to “help it fend off fake news campaigns it fears could disrupt the upcoming 2020 count,” citing Census officials and others briefed on the plans.
The decennial census, the constitutionally mandated count of every resident in the United States, is used for political and economic purposes. It not only determines the number of House of Representatives seats each state gets, but is used to calculate how billions of dollars in federal money are distributed among the states. Any disruption of the count could have a big impact on the lives of Americans.
There is already some angst surrounding the 2020 Census because it’s the first one to be conducted largely online (will the systems be ready?) and because of the ongoing legal dispute over whether people can be asked whether they are citizens, as the Trump administration wants. The Supreme Court is expected to hear arguments on the question next month.
Add to that the potential for misinformation spread on social media, and the possibility of trouble grows.
Dipayan Ghosh, director of the Platform Accountability Project at the Harvard Kennedy School, contacted via email, said nefarious disinformation operators are likely to attempt to infiltrate American information and media networks in the coming months with misleading content that suggests citizens should not or cannot participate
Read more here: https://www.poynter.org/fact-checking/2019/the-u-s-census-could-be-the-next-target-for-online-fakery/