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Tribal advocates keep up legal pressure for fair political maps; 12-member jury sworn in for Trump's historic criminal trial; the importance of healthcare decision planning; and a debt dilemma: poll shows how many people wrestle with college costs.

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Civil rights activists say a court ruling could end the right to protest in three southern states, a federal judge lets January 6th lawsuits proceed against former President Trump, and police arrest dozens at a Columbia University Gaza protest.

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Rural Wyoming needs more vocational teachers to sustain its workforce pipeline, Ohio environmental advocates fear harm from a proposal to open 40-thousand forest acres to fracking and rural communities build bike trail systems to promote nature, boost the economy.

Tech Companies Scale Back Efforts to Control Election Disinformation

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Tuesday, September 5, 2023   

Introduced federal legislation aims to counter the growing threat of election disinformation as social media platforms scale back efforts to control it.

Backers of the "Freedom to Vote Act" say it would prohibit false statements about federal elections designed to prevent people from voting, including from the candidates themselves.

Emma Steiner, information accountability project manager with the non-partisan group Common Cause, said disinformation can often be hard to spot.

"A lot of times people fall for disinformation," said Steiner, "because it seems to confirm something they already believe and that's where people get tripped up."

Steiner recommended that people always refer to official sources for voting information - including Secretary of States' offices or local election boards.

She said disinformation often increases after an election... before the final votes are even tallied.

Recent employee layoffs at tech companies have drastically reduced efforts to stop the spread of election disinformation while social media platforms have stopped labeling or removing posts making false claims about the 2020 election.

Steiner said that leaves too many social media users vulnerable.

"Disinformation spreaders and disinformation campaigns tend to target marginalized populations and people who live in information voids," said Steiner, "meaning they don't have the resources or capacity to find reliable information."

Steiner said while Facebook - for example - has made some effort to fight disinformation by launching its Voting and Election Center, tech companies still have a responsibility to ensure information being shared on their platforms is accurate.

Support for this reporting was provided by the Carnegie Corporation of New York.




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