Facebook is coordinating a secret meeting of Silicon Valley giants to combat misinformation ahead of the US midterms

  • Silicon Valley giants are said to be holding a private meeting Friday to discuss how to tackle misinformation ahead of the 2018 midterm elections in November.
  • BuzzFeed News first reported on the meeting after obtaining an email sent by Facebook’s head of cybersecurity policy inviting a dozen companies to meet at Twitter’s headquarters.
  • The companies are expected to present the work they have done to counter misinformation campaigns and discuss the problems they each faces.

Silicon Valley giants including Facebook, Twitter, Google, Microsoft, and Snap are said to be holding a private meeting Friday to discuss the problem of misinformation ahead of the US midterm elections in November.

The meeting was first reported by BuzzFeed, which obtained an email sent by Facebook’s head of cybersecurity policy, Nathaniel Gleicher. In the email, he invited representatives from 12 companies to meet in San Francisco at Twitter’s headquarters.

“As I’ve mentioned to several of you over the last few weeks, we have been looking to schedule a follow-on discussion to our industry conversation about information operations, election protection, and the work we are all doing to tackle these challenges,” Gleicher wrote.

According to Gleicher’s email, the meeting has a three-part agenda. It calls for each company to present work it has done to combat misinformation before the companies are to discuss the particular problems each faces and, finally, decide whether they should hold the meeting on a regular basis.

Eight tech giants held a similar meeting in May with US government representatives present. Christopher Krebs, an undersecretary at the Department of Homeland Security, as well as Mike Burham from the FBI’s “foreign influence” task force reportedly provided the companies with scant information, leaving them frustrated.

Foreign influence campaigns on social media ahead of the midterms have been in the spotlight in recent weeks. At the end of July,Facebook announced it had it had banned 32 pages after it uncovered a coordinated effort to influence US politics. It said that it was not sure of the provenance of the operation but that it bore similarities to previous Russian disinformation campaigns.

Microsoft also recently announced it had detected Russian hacking attempts targeted at Republicans, just weeks after it came out that Russian hackers had tried to infiltrate the systems of Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill.

Business Insider has contacted Facebook, Google, and Snap for comment. Microsoft and Twitter declined to comment.

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