Tech giants and US officials meet to discuss 2020 election security – CNET

Tech giants are meeting with US officials at Facebook headquarters in Menlo Park, California to discuss election security.

Stephen Shankland/CNET

Tech giants met with US officials at Facebook's headquarters on Wednesday to work on security efforts leading up to the 2020 US presidential election. The companies attended included Facebook, Twitter, Google and Microsoft, according to sources familiar with the meeting. 

US officials expected nation-state attacks on American politics to ramp up during the 2020 presidential election, and met with the tech companies to discuss how they could prevent a repeat of the disinformation campaigns that blitzed social networks in 2016. The four tech companies met with officials from the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Department of Homeland Security and the office of the Director of National Intelligence. 

The DHS has been coordinating with state election officials on securing voting machines, while warning that disinformation campaigns are a major cause for concern even after all the votes have been casted. The FBI has been alerting Facebook when disinformation campaigns break out on the social network, leading to account takedowns in past months. 

Twitter, Facebook and Google have been troubled with disinformation campaigns as Russian-backed groups took to social media to pose as Americans on divisive issues to spread political chaos. The companies were blasted by Congress members for failing to prevent these attacks, and have made efforts to be more proactive for future elections. 

Microsoft has released tools like NewsGuard to combat disinformation by verifying news sources, while Facebook and Twitter have actively pushed back against new campaigns popping up. Still, despite those efforts surrounding disinformation and the election, some campaigns continue to pass through, like ads from state-sponsored media surrounding the protests in Hong Kong

This is not the first time that these tech giants have met with US officials to discuss election security. There was a similar meeting in August 2018 to discuss election security leading up to the US midterm elections. 

"Every year is an election year on Twitter and our mission to serve the public conversation is never more critical than during these moments. We always welcome the opportunity to spend time with our peer companies and the government agencies tasked with protecting the integrity of the 2020 election," a Twitter spokesman said. "This is a joint effort in response to a shared threat, and we are committed to doing our part."

This is a developing story, please continue to check for updates.

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