There has been a lot of debate about the manipulation of social media by foreign nations over the past year after reports that the Russians may have spread fake news through social media networks during the last presidential election. The FBI had announced the creation of a new task force late last year in light of the reports but didn’t really say what the task force would do. The agency has now revealed that the task force’s job will be to expose attempts of social media manipulation by foreign nations.
Top FBI official Jeffrey Tricoli heads the task force which will inform U.S. companies the public about efforts being made by Russia and other foreign nations to spread disinformation through the manipulation of social media networks during an election cycle. It will do all of that while trying to ensure that its actions aren’t against free speech and constitutional rights.
The intention of the task force is to shed light on the election interference efforts and then leave it up to the companies and the public to decide what they want to do with the disinformation that has been spread.
“We’re not here to be the thought police. That’s obviously, clearly, not something that we would ever want to get into,” Tricoli said, adding that the agency’s responsibility is to establish an understanding of what’s behind the veil and bringing visibility and transparency to the process.
The FBI hasn’t made it clear just how active the task force is going to be in order to prevent the spread of disinformation through social media during the upcoming Congressional midterm elections.