The 2016’s U.S. presidential elections pushed the threat of disinformation in front of the public debate and Russians attempts to influence voters by spreading misleading news shocked Americans. In fact, it was unconceivable that a foreign power might use social medias in order to interfere in the U.S. presidential elections.
Four years after, 2020’s elections were not disrupted by the foreign adversaries insofar as the U.S Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency – also known as CISA – declared the last elections as the most secure in American history.
Nevertheless, disinformation continues to spread throughout the Country as President Trump keeps refusing to concede to President-elect Joe Biden. Moreover, even conspiracies about the legitimacy of the elections are now spreading not only across United States but even in Europe where conspiracies have been supported even by the leaders of the opposition in Italy.
Biden and his advisors recognize the size of the problem and the president-elect seems to be equipped to lead efforts to sustain American resilience to foreign and domestic disinformation. Indeed, Biden is a signatory of the “Pledge for Election Integrity”, a document drafted by a nonprofit organization named Alliance of Democracies and signed mainly by European politicians in order to promise that they would not fabricate and spread false data or materials that doxed and stolen for disinformation or propaganda purposes.
Biden seems to be an opportunity for the United States of America to safeguard the Country from the threat of disinformation.
A long way to go
Biden’s administration has a long way to go. In fact, must ensure that all levels of the federal government take the matter seriously.
Primarily, the United States should create a sort of counter-disinformation movement within the National Security Council, with the aim of monitoring the information ecosystem for threats and to coordinate a counteraction and an interagency policy response.
A counteraction against disinformation is actually required during the COVID-19 Emergency, because fake news may affect public trust in a future vaccine.
However we must not forget that serious efforts to combat disinformation will inevitably require a comparable budget, so Biden’s administration should look forward to find alliances that have experience dealing with disinformation, such as the Finnish and the Swedish governments which have programs focusing on disinformation and are trying to literate their citizens from their very first years of life.
A long-term action
Obviously, there is no quick fix to this issue, this administration must and will work hard against disinformation in order to achieve a benefit in the long-term. Disinformation is an urgent issue which can be fight starting with a good and non-chaotic governance and Biden seems to be such a great opportunity for the United States to finally take action against disinformation and misleading news.