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Federal intelligence officials meet tech firms at Facebook to discuss election security

Cybersecurity talks ahead of 2020 election

Members of the intelligence community met Wednesday at Facebook with representatives from several major technology and social media companies to discuss election security ahead of the 2020 election. "Attendees talked about how industry and government could improve how we share information and coordinate our response to better detect and deter threats," said Nathaniel Gleicher, Facebook's head of security, in a statement.

Representatives from the FBI, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, Department of Homeland Security, Facebook, Twitter, Google and Microsoft were at the meeting at Facebook's headquarters in Menlo Park, California. The representatives' identities were not released.

The meeting is indicative of a greater focus on election security since 2016, when Russian operatives used social media platforms to spread misinformation ahead of that year's presidential contest. In September 2018, Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg and Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey testified before a Senate committee that they were aggressively trying to root out malicious foreign actors ahead of the midterm elections.

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Wednesday's meeting comes one day after 2020 Democratic hopeful Beto O'Rourke's campaign called for technology companies to do more to prevent the spread of misinformation after a tweet spread that falsely claimed that an O'Rourke supporter carried out a recent mass shooting. Before the account that made that claim was suspended, it was retweeted by former Trump adviser Sebastian Gorka.

O'Rourke's campaign manager, Jen O'Malley Dillon, tweeted that that a Facebook post also containing the false information had 34,000 shares. She also said that on Google over the past week, the second highest trending search query was about whether O'Rourke had a connection to the shooter.

"The responsibility for stopping misinformation cannot be on the victims of misinformation attacks. It has to be on the tech companies who allow right wing operatives to spread misinformation. So I'm looking at you @Twitter @Google @facebook. What are you going to do about it?" Dillon wrote.

Earlier this summer, Sandberg released a report detailing a number of steps she says Facebook is taking to help secure the 2020 elections, including the removal of posts that spread "misinformation" about voting.

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