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FBI: China, Russia Amplifying Election Misinformation

The Federal Bureau of Investigation is reporting that China and Russia are actively amplifying existing election misinformation in an effort to to interfere in the November midterms.

(TNS) — FBI officials warn that Russia and China are working to interfere in November’s midterm elections in the U.S. by amplifying misinformation that’s already been floating around.

The feds expressed their concerns to state and local officials last month, according to an unclassified intelligence advisory. Russian operatives hope to further sow doubt in election integrity, while China is working to “hinder candidates perceived to be particularly adversarial to Beijing,” the FBI says

No credible threats to election infrastructure have so far been detected by intelligence officials. U.S. adversaries in 2016 used social media to confuse and misinform voters. Platforms like Twitter and Facebook later took measures to fact-check information being posted online prior to the 2020 election.

The democratic landscape might be “much more complex than it was in 2020,” Jen Easterly, the Department of Homeland Security’s cybersecurity director, said Monday.

Former President Donald Trump continues to hold rallies throughout the U.S. falsely claiming that the 2020 vote was somehow rigged. The bipartisan House committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021 attack on the Capitol by election deniers said in June that its research discovered Trump and his allies had raised more than $250 million by pushing that false narrative.

Right-wing media outlets including OAN and Fox News find themselves in multi-billion dollar suits over dubious reporting centered around the notion a pair of technologies companies may have been partially at fault for improprieties in the 2020 election.

Right-wing Arizona gubernatorial candidate Kari Lake claimed her campaign detected election fraud in her state’s primary in August, but offered no evidence to support the allegation. In Pennsylvania, GOP candidate for governor Doug Mastriano has publicly challenged the strength of America’s democratic process, too.

Intelligence officials believe China is more likely to meddle in the 2024 presidential election than in upcoming Senate and House races. However, their efforts are believed to be focused on U.S. politics at the local level. Russia’s intentions are thought to be more centered around the electoral process.

Voters have a responsibility to be diligent about the information they’re consuming, says Brennan Center for Justice security expert Larry Norden.

“If they are seeing messages about candidates presented in an alarmist or emotionally charged way, their radar should be going up,” he said.

If social media users see something that raises suspicion, Norden said, they should flag that content for social media companies.

©2022 New York Daily News, Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.