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The FBI plans to alert U.S. companies and the public about efforts by Russia or other nations to use disinformation and social media manipulation to interfere in upcoming elections, while being careful not to upset free speech and constitutional rights, a top law enforcement official said.

The direction that the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s “foreign influence” task force is heading could dramatically reshape the relationship between government and social media companies in order to address vulnerabilities that enabled Russia to meddle in the 2016 election.

“We’ve been reluctant in some instances to share the amount of information of what we know about what’s happening,” said Jeffrey Tricoli, a top FBI official heading the task force. “You can’t stay with the same strategy if you think there needs to be changes. So going forward there’s going to be opportunities for us to share information in better ways.”

FBI Director Christopher Wray announced late last year that the task force had been created. But almost everything about it has been secretive to date. Tricoli provided the first extensive public comments about it during an FBI conference in New York Wednesday co-sponsored by Fordham University.

FBI Task Force to Expose Russian Social Media Manipulation

The FBI plans to alert U.S. companies and the public about efforts by Russia or other nations to use disinformation and social media manipulation to interfere in upcoming elections, while being careful not to upset free speech and constitutional rights, a top law enforcement official said.


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