The Department of Homeland Security is setting up a new board to monitor misinformation. The Disinformation Governance Board will focus on misinformation from Russia as well as false claims about immigration intended for migrants and abused by human traffickers, according to a report from the Associated Press on Wednesday.
“The spread of disinformation can affect border security, Americans’ safety during disasters and public trust in our democratic institutions,” the department said in a statement to the AP.
Russia has been a major source of misinformation on social media. Asaid that the country was behind many of the disinformation campaigns on the platform since 2017. Russia has also been using misinformation tactics during its war on in an attempt to convince people the military campaign is justified. The board will also reportedly monitor Russia leading up to the US midterm elections.
“We are addressing all aspects of election security, given, of course, the midterm elections that are upon us and the fundamental integrity of our democratic processes are at stake,” Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas told the House Homeland Security Committee during a budget request hearing on Wednesday.
Leading the Disinformation Governance Board is Nina Jankowicz, a fellow at the Wilson Center who researches online misinformation. The board will also reportedly begin working to counter misinformation targeting migrants hoping to travel to the US border with Mexico. Human smugglers have used social media to spread false claims, targeting people from Central and South America with misinformation about immigration policies. Last year, tens of thousands of Haitians attempted to cross the border from Mexico expecting they would receive asylum in the US, according to the Council on Foreign Relations.
White House press secretary Jen Psaki said in a press briefing Monday that the board “is a continuation of work that was done under the Trump administration to address the use of disinformation helping smugglers prompt the movement of more migrants to the border.”
“For anyone who’s out there who may be concerned about the increase in migrants to the border, this is the kind of apparatus that’s working to address disinformation,” she said.