Vice President Kamala Harris said that social media companies should work with The White House to combat misinformation and disinformation to protect “democracy.”
Harris made the comments in an interview with NPR on Monday. Asked about her thoughts on the changes made by Elon Musk on Twitter, the Vice President said:
“I think about this issue a bit differently, which is my deep and profound concern about how misinformation and disinformation have infiltrated information streams in our country.”
Vice President Harris referenced her role as a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, where she was involved in the investigation into alleged Russian interference in the 2016 presidential elections.
She alleged that the investigation proved that there was a “profound amount of intentional disinformation and misinformation targeting specific demographics to take advantage of what might be pre-existing disparities and skepticism about the role and importance of government,” and that it was done to weaken democracy in the US.
“When I see how social media is used in that way, it causes me a very deep level of concern,” Harris said. “So, what I would say about any social media site is this: I fully expect and would require that leaders in that sector cooperate and work with us who are concerned about national security, concerned about upholding and protecting our democracy, to do everything in their power to ensure that there is not a manipulation that is allowed or overlooked that is done with the intention of upending the security of our democracy and our nation.”
The VP’s comments came amid allegations of collusion between the federal government and social media sites to censor content, both in the lawsuit by Louisiana’s and Missouri’s Attorneys General and in the Twitter Files Musk has been releasing through independent journalists.
Even former Twitter CEO and founder Jack Dorsey warned about the government and corporate industry controlling public discourse. Shortly after Musk started releasing the Twitter files, in a blog post, Dorsey said that social media must “be resilient to corporate and government control.”
“It’s critical that the people have tools to resist this and that those tools are ultimately owned by the people. Allowing a government or a few corporations to own the public conversation is a path toward centralized control,” Dorsey added.
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