The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is launching a new panel to tackle disinformation, the Disinformation Governance Board. For now, its efforts will be focused on two initiatives.
Russian disinformation on the Ukraine war and midterms
Ukraine war: The board will aim to expose Russian disinformation and false narratives about the Ukraine war.
Midterms: President Joe Biden has claimed that Russia will interfere with the midterm elections since mid-2021. The board will aim to identify that interference. Findings by the board could allow the administration to blame Russia for poor midterm results. President Donald Trump’s 2016 victory was similarly blamed on Vladimir Putin despite lacking evidence.
Disinformation about the border
According to DHS, human smugglers use disinformation to fuel migrant surges at the Southern border. Disinformation leads migrants to believe the border is more open than it is, causing them to rush to the scene. The board will aim to address that disinformation and prevent border issues.
Disinformation isn’t solely to blame though—Biden’s confusing messaging of immigration policies led to a border crisis last September. The administration’s policies also incentivize illegal immigration.
What this means for free speech and censorship
Considering how the Biden administration has made content moderation and online censorship a top priority, it’s possible that the Disinformation Governance Board could function as a government-operated fact-checker—classifying disinformation to be censored.
While the details of the Disinformation Governance Board are still vague, they highlight a commitment to fighting disinformation, which in itself requires identifying and fact-checking.
Biden’s pick to lead the board has a problematic history
Nina Jankowicz, Biden’s choice, was an adviser on strategic communications to Ukraine and is an “expert on disinformation.”
She believed Hunter Biden’s laptop was part of a disinformation campaign: Nina Jankowicz amplified the now-debunked narrative that Hunter’s laptop was part of a Russian disinformation scheme.
Promoted Christopher Steele: Christopher Steele played an essential role in the FBI’s effort to spy on the Trump campaign, providing the bureau with false information or disinformation. Jankowicz has promoted Christopher Steele’s views.
Jankowicz believed partisan disinformation and spread it. Now, she’ll be leading a board committed to stopping disinformation.