Reacting to rising online extremism triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic and the elections, a group of House Democrats want President Biden to launch a multiagency digital democracy task force to develop a federal strategy to increase resilience to online threats and create stronger protection for the democratic process.
In a Dec. 10 letter to the president-elect, members of the Congressional Task Force on Digital Citizenship asked him to adopt a “whole of government system to build citizen resilience to disinformation and misinformation.”
They see the need for “media literacy programs with commitments to truth-seeking" to counter social media platforms that traffic in “false, misleading or emotionally manipulative” content to boost engagement and corporate profits.
The US needs to partner with allies to help set global mechanisms on platform transparency, share information on the evolving digital ecosystems and develop protocols for citizen resilience to online information, according to the letter.
The Congressmen warn that the COVID-19 vaccine will not cure the online infodemic and conspiracy will continue to be exploited.
“We encourage you to work with researchers, scholars and civil society to understand the impact of disinformation and misinformation on American society and we stand ready to assist you in putting forward these new initiatives," said Jennifer Wexton (VA), David Cicilline (RI), Donald Beyer (VA), Zoe Lofgren (CA), Bill Foster (IL), Bill Keating (MA) Yvette Clark (NY), Jamie Raskin (MD), Elissa Slotkin (MI).