February 25, 2019

Bishop Garrison: Congress Must Protect Black & Latino Americans from Russian Social Media Targeting in 2020

By Sarah Rumpf

Rainey Center co-founder and President Bishop Garrison had a op-ed published today at Blavity on the topic of Russia's efforts to engage in disinformation attacks during the 2016 elections.

As Garrison noted, evidence has been found showing that Russia's Internet Research Agency not only used social media to spread political misinformation during the elections, Black and Latino Americans were aggressively targeted:

The Senate Select Committee on Intelligence recently found Russia’s Internet Research Agency (IRA) coordinated disinformation tactics during the 2016 elections, with questions still lingering about their interference in 2018 midterms as well as the agency’s plans to cause similar political and social discourse in 2020.

In particular, U.S. officials found the IRA targeted Latinos and African Americans, often more aggressively than other U.S. groups, spreading misinformation to exert political influence and exacerbate social divisions in U.S. culture. Hackers strategically reached 126 million people on Facebook, at least 20 million users on Instagram, 1.4 million users on Twitter, and uploaded over 1,000 videos to YouTube.

Congress needs to take action to protect vulnerable communities from this kind of interference, wrote Garrison, and must ensure that Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigation is safeguarded.

Read the full op-ed here.

Photo by Remko van Dokkum via Flickr.

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