MANILA, Philippines – The United States, specifically the state of Connecticut, is creating a position for an expert whose job solely is to monitor social media with the hopes of catching election misinformation early before they go viral, the New York Times reported (paywall).
The expert will have an annual salary of $150,000, and will be tasked with combing fringe social media sites such as 4chan, far-right social networks like Gettr and Rumble, and mainstream social media sites such as Facebook, looking out specifically for misinformation narratives related to the country’s upcoming midterm elections. Upon finding a piece of misinformation, the expert will report it to the social media companies to have it removed or flagged.
The position is part of the state’s $2-million marketing campaign promoting factual information on the elections.
Connecticut joins several other states that have employed specific measures combatting election misinformation including multimedia education and ad campaigns. Colorado is said to have hired its own set of three cybersecurity experts that are also monitoring social media for misinformation while California’s office of the secretary of state, in cooperation with the Department of Homeland and academics, is doing the same.
“State and local governments are well situated to reduce harms from dis- and misinformation by providing timely, accurate and trustworthy information,” Rachel Goodman, a lawyer at Protect Democracy, told the New York times. She also addressed concerns that conservative voices might push back against state-led efforts on monitoring and reporting content: “But in order to maintain that trust, they must make clear that they are not engaging in any kind of censorship or surveillance that would raise constitutional concerns.” – Rappler.com