Democrats are lobbying social media companies to stop fake stories about 2020 candidates before they can go viral

DisinformationSenate Judiciary Committee member Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) displays an inaccurate Tweet telling voters to cast ballots with text messages while she questions witnesses from Google, Facebook and Twitter during a Crime and Terrorism Subcommittee hearing in the Hart Senate Office Building on Capitol Hill October 31, 2017 in Washington, DC.Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

  • The Democratic National Committee is fighting to halt the spread of disinformation about Democratic candidates ahead of the 2020 presidential election, Politico reported.
  • In its fight against fake news, the party is using software to identify trending stories before they go viral, and asking third-party fact checkers to rebut them.
  • After debunking the story, they contact Facebook and ask for them to intervene to stop the post spreading to vast audiences.
  • The enhanced operation follows a series of fake viral stories in 2016 which likely damaged then-candidate Hillary Clinton.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

The Democratic National Committee (DNC) is waging a behind-the-scenes battle to stop the spread of disinformation about its 2020 presidential candidates, Politico reported Tuesday.

The DNC is reportedly desperate to avoid a repeat of the 2016 campaign, in which Russian hackers leaked thousands of emails from DNC servers and swamped social media with disinformation about then-candidate Hillary Clinton.

As one of a range of measures to combat disinformation, Politico reported that the DNC's internal information security group - DNC Tech - is employing software called Trendolizer, which monitors social media for content on the brink of going viral.

If the content is a piece of disinformation about a 2020 Democrat, Politico reported that the DNC will flag it to the relevant campaign and recommend they run it past an independent fact-checker, such the Associated Press, Poynter or FactCheck.com.

The DNC will then alert Facebook to the disinformation spreading on its platform and the report debunking it, in the hope that Facebook will intervene to limit the story's audience.

According to the report, individual campaigns have the responsibility for judging whether and how to hit back at disinformation.

The DNC did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the report.

Social media platforms have come under pressure from lawmakers and regulators to halt the flow of disinformation on their platforms.

US intelligence chiefs have warned that countries including Russia, China, and Iran are gearing up to launch fake news campaigns in a bid to influence the 2020 election.

And experts at New York University have in a report warned that it's not just foreign actors but domestic partisan operators behind the flow of fake news.

Senator Elizabeth Warren, one of the leading Democratic contenders for the presidency, has criticised Facebook for allowing Trump campaign adverts with false or misleading claims to run on its platform.

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