AI News, 'It's a fine target': Census bureau to fight misinformation

'It's a fine target': Census bureau to fight misinformation

CHICAGO — Worried about internet trolls and foreign powers spreading false news, census officials are preparing to battle misinformation campaigns for the first time in the count’s 230-year history.

Fake posts about the census began popping up days after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in June that the Trump administration could not ask about citizenship status on the 2020 census: Conservative bloggers, Twitter users and pundits falsely blamed former President Barack Obama for scrubbing the question from the form in 2010.

Government officials spend years preparing for each census, but the extent of Russia’s misinformation campaign during the last presidential elections — inaccurate and divisive images, posts and stories on social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter that often went viral — wasn’t really understood until 2017.

“We hadn’t gotten much further than that.” As a first line of defense, census officials have spent months forging relationships with dozens of technology companies that keep close guard on their massive datasets and proprietary information.

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