Census Bureau turns to Facebook, Google, Twitter to fight fake news, says report

The tech giants have given the bureau "initial commitments" to help, according to Reuters.

Richard Nieva Former senior reporter
Richard Nieva was a senior reporter for CNET News, focusing on Google and Yahoo. He previously worked for PandoDaily and Fortune Magazine, and his writing has appeared in The New York Times, on CNNMoney.com and on CJR.org.
Richard Nieva

The US Census Bureau has reportedly asked tech giants to help them fight fake news.

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To try to fend off disinformation that could taint the 2020 US census, the Census Bureau reportedly is enlisting help from companies that have lots of experience with fake news: Facebook, Google and Twitter.

The bureau has gotten "initial commitments" from the three tech giants to aid in combating disinformation campaigns, according to a report Wednesday by Reuters.

The census would be a prime target for foreign and domestic agents because of the impact the numbers have on US election districts and how $800 billion in federal spending would be allocated each year.

Facebook, Google, Twitter and the Census Bureau didn't immediately respond to requests for comment.

The tech giants have been in the hot seat since Russian operatives used their platforms to spread fake news and sow division during the 2016 US presidential election. Since then, the companies have boasted hiring thousands of human content moderators and developing artificial intelligence tools to fight against the attacks.

The disinformation strategies for the census could take several forms, Reuters said. Those include distributing fake data by doctoring ads or news articles, or posing as different demographic groups to spread misinformation.