September 22, 2020

Cortez Masto, Colleagues Urge Online Platforms to Take Additional Measures to Stop Voting Related Misinformation and Disinformation

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.) joined Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Ranking Member of the Senate Rules Committee with oversight over federal elections, along with 16 colleagues in sending a letter to Facebook, Instagram, Google, Twitter and YouTube, urging executives to take further measures to stop voting related misinformation and disinformation.

“As our country grapples with the spread of information designed to sow division and reduce Americans’ confidence in the integrity of our elections, weak policies and poor enforcement of platform rules are damaging our democracy,” the senators wrote.

The Senators continued, “As you know, your platforms are a major source of information for many Americans. While your ability to identify and remove coordinated campaigns has improved since the 2016 election, disinformation is still thriving online and millions of users continue to see content created by foreign adversaries before it is removed. One report found that in 2019 alone, politically relevant disinformation reached over 158 million American users. Another recent report showed that nearly half of all top-performing posts on Facebook that mentioned voting by mail were false or misleading.”

Full text of the letter can be viewed here


Senator Cortez Masto is a member of the Senate Rules Committee which has jurisdiction over federal elections.

The Intelligence Community has confirmed that Russia is trying to influence and undermine the election through social media and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has warned that foreign actors may leverage limited understanding regarding the mail-in voting processes to mislead and confuse the public. The July bulletin, that DHS halted the release of, found that Russia continues to target presidential candidates to influence the election. A September bulletin issued to law enforcement warned that Russia is amplifying criticism of the vote-by-mail process in order to undermine the election.