Protected Voices: Social Media Literacy
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Protected Voices: Social Media Literacy

If it’s on the Internet,
it must be true. Right? Many of us, and many voters, take truth in advertising for
granted. But while the Federal Trade
Commission keeps blatant lies out of product descriptions,
there is no Internet police doing the same for
online information. Especially for information
shared through social media
channels. Hi, I’m Kara, a special agent
with the FBI, here to talk with you about social media literacy
and how that can impact your political campaign. There are three ways that social
media literacy matters to your campaign: when your campaign
consumes information from social media platforms, when your
campaign posts information on social media platforms, and when
a third party uses social media to disseminate facts – or
fiction – about your campaign. Let’s talk first about
information consumption. When your political campaign
accesses and uses information it finds on the Internet, it’s
important to remember that such information is created for a
purpose – things are put on the Internet to make money for
someone, or to influence the viewer’s perceptions
of an issue or problem. So it’s really important to
consider the source of the information. Who posted this material
online, and why? Can you vet the information
through one or more separate trusted
sources? What related information might
have been left out of the material you’re accessing? Beyond considering the
information itself, you should also look into the profile of
whoever appears to be posting the information. Social media platforms give
foreign actors a way to connect with and manipulate you – so
someone who appears to be a campaign supporter might
actually be a foreigner who wants to trick you into sharing
sensitive campaign information. If you see something suspicious
on a social media platform, you can report your concerns
directly to the social media company for their review. Now let’s look at when your
campaign posts information on
the Internet. When you do so, be mindful of
including details that might help foreign adversaries target
you, your fellow campaign employees, or
campaign volunteers. For instance, if you post a
photo of your candidate, check to make sure there are no names
of your colleagues or other identifying information
in the background. Remember the cybersecurity tips
in our other videos, too: Use strong passphrases and
multi-factor authentication to secure your accounts, and keep
your contact information up to date so your social media
company can reach you if they identify potentially
suspicious behavior. Finally, let’s talk
about third party posts. When a foreign adversary posts
false or misleading information, their overall goal is to
influence public opinion, misrepresent what the true
public opinion is, divide our country, and create mistrust
in our democratic processes. For example, an adversary could
post a deepfake video of your candidate online. A deepfake is a realistic but
false audio or video file. A deepfake might show your
candidate doing or saying something that he or
she never did or said. This can work in two basic ways:
Your candidate’s face and voice can be superimposed onto a
preexisting video of someone else, or someone else’s voice
and mouth can be superimposed onto a video of your candidate. To protect your campaign against
deepfakes, you might consider putting together a library of
your original recordings of your candidate. If your candidate becomes a
victim of a deepfake, you can point to the original
video or audio. The bottom line? Keep a healthy skepticism
whenever you’re looking at information on the Internet. Consider why something might
have been posted online, and who stands to gain from
that information. Use good cyber hygiene to secure
your campaign’s social media accounts, and consider creating
a library of campaign videos for future reference. Remember, your voice
matters, so protect it!

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