Charleston, W.Va. – A nation-wide media conglomerate gave West Virginia’s effort to increase public education on election security the national stage when stations across the country aired a special segment titled “'Deleting the deception': New effort targets disinformation among youngest voters” looking toward the 2020 election cycle.
In the feature, Mark Albert, Chief National Investigative Correspondent for Hearst Media, traveled to West Virginia and followed Secretary Warner to Scott High School in Madison, where he gave a slideshow presentation on foreign interference.
The feature aired for the first time on Sunday, Nov. 3, one year to the date of the 2020 General Election, in media markets in every corner of the country. The segment can be viewed by clicking here.
The presentation is part of a public education effort by the Secretary and includes information about how to spot disinformation. Secretary Warner has made a number of similar visits to high schools across the state since announcing the effort in June. His mission is to reach all West Virginia voters, with an emphasis on the youngest generation, which is most likely to use social media and be affected by misinformation campaigns.
As part of his coverage, Albert interviewed seven junior and senior-level students at the school about their perspective on foreign interference and disinformation on social media.
“When asked how many of them think they’ve shared false information on social media, every single student raised their hands; they nodded their heads when asked if it’s ‘just easier to share’ than to fact-check,” Albert reported.
Albert cited a report by the Oxford Internet Institute, which found that organized social media manipulation has more than doubled in just two years, with Russia, China, India, Iran, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, and Venezuela launching foreign influence operations on Facebook and Twitter.
U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) worked with Secretary Warner and his team to assemble the video and accompanying slide presentation to educate U.S. citizens on election interference efforts, mainly foreign nation-states using social media as the vector of attack.
Since then, Secretary Warner also shared the presentation at the National Association of Secretaries of State 2019 Summer Conference with state and local election officials from across the country. As a result, a number of those officials have requested the presentation to develop their programs.
Warner was named Elections Committee Co-Chair for the National Association of Secretaries of State in August and has offered his leadership in election security to collaborate with other state elections officials on how they can also educate their constituents on election interference.
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