“Misinformation, disinformation, and malinformation” tactics aimed at communities of color are attempting to suppress turnout, alienate voters, and stop them from participating in the democratic process, Rep. G.K. Butterfield said.
On Thursday (April 29), National Urban League’s Joi Chaney noted an “increasing number of disinformation campaigns that directly target Black communities and the civil rights that have long been fought for” in a testimony to the House Administration elections subcommittee.
“Further, these disinformation attacks on Black communities are also a broader attack on our democracy and a threat to the national security of this nation,” Chaney added.
Expert concerns about misinformation come as states continue to enact new laws to regulate voting. According to the Brennan Center for Justice, 49 states have introduced over 400 bills that Democrats believe disproportionately affect voters of color and suppress their access to the ballot — Republicans say the bills are voter integrity measures.
Black voters were also the main targets of Russian interference and misinformation during the 2016 election. The Senate Intelligence Committee found that “no single group of Americans was targeted by... information operatives more than African Americans.”
At the height of the misinformation spread, fake social media accounts posed as Black influencers and a message reading “avoid the line — vote from home. Text ‘Hillary’ to 59925” targetted Black and Latino voters on Twitter and Facebook, NBC News reports.
To combat disinformation, Chaney said civic groups, corporations, social media platforms, and legislators need to play an active role in preventing bad actors from targetting Black communities.