Why Virginia senator says US 'may be more vulnerable' to disinformation than in 2020 election

Posted at 10:55 AM, Jun 23, 2024

NORFOLK, Va. — Sen. Mark Warner (D-Virginia) is sounding the alarm about the potential impacts of misinformation and disinformation on the 2024 election.

"The truth is in some ways, we may be more vulnerable today than we were four years ago," Warner told reporters.

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Warner is chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee.

"We need to do more in terms of public education. We need to hold tech companies responsible," he said.

Misinformation is simply false information while disinformation is information that's deliberately used to deceive.

Warner cites potential interference from countries like Russia and China as well as the spread of disinformation on social media as the causes for concern.

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"The thing that foreign countries have discovered is that it's really cheap to put disinformation out. It doesn't cost near as much as a tank or a plane or a submarine. So this tool is being used by foreign countries all the time," said Warner.

Recently, a photo went viral on TikTok of a photo purporting to show the size of the crowd at Donald Trump's Bronx rally, but it was really a picture of an Obama event in St. Louis from 2008.

"Mis and disinformation from sources inside and outside of the U.S. has been increasing," said Joan Porte, the president of the League of Women Voters of Virginia.

Her organization has a website that uses artificial intelligence, or AI, to fact check claims and summarizes them on the site.

"We've been getting a lot of very good traction because it's easy and it immediately checks [facts], so it's our contribution," said Porte.

There are also concerns about using AI to deceive people, including altering voices. That happened earlier this year when someone made a fake robocall of President Biden.

Warner worries this type of content will spread on social media this year and is urging companies to do more.

"We need to keep the pressure on these tech companies to show us where the beef is. Show us what they've done," said Warner.



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