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FBI Director Says Public-Private Sector Partnerships Are Important for Guarding Against “Misinformation”

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During an interview with CNBC, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Director Christopher Wray lauded his agency’s partnerships with the private sector to target “misinformation” and “disinformation,” despite growing scrutiny over the way these types of partnerships have been used to censor the speech of Americans.

Wray complained that social media has escalated misinformation and disinformation and that AI is “taking it to the next level.” He then lauded private sector partnerships as a way to defend against the proliferation of AI misinformation and disinformation.

“I come back to the importance of partnerships to guard against it,” Wray said. “Not just our partnerships, but there’s an important role for the private sector. For example, AI companies, which many of which are very actively engaged in this fight to help detect deepfakes. You know, in some ways, AI is quite good at detecting AI, and so seeing the private sector invest its own time and money into trying to help detect some of the things that you’re describing I think is an important piece of it. Obviously, government partners, research community, etc., is another piece of it.”

After praising these private sector partnerships that target misinformation and disinformation, Wray attempted to downplay censorship concerns and insisted that these efforts only target foreign actors.

“To be clear, our role at the FBI is focused on the role of the foreign actors, as in the source of the information, not the content,” Wray said. “We’re not the truth police. We don’t aspire to be.”

While Wray asserted that these efforts target foreign actors, lawmakers have previously challenged this assertion and pointed to a federal court ruling that stated the FBI had flagged domestic speech as potential misinformation. This federal court ruling is part of a legal case that’s headed to the Supreme Court and alleges several federal agencies, including the FBI, violated the First Amendment by pressuring Big Tech companies to censor the speech of Americans.

Numerous reports have also detailed how the FBI has flagged the speech of Americans to Big Tech companies for censorship.

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