- The Washington Times - Tuesday, October 15, 2019

The Democratic National Committee reportedly warned presidential campaigns on the eve of Tuesday’s primary debate to remain vigilant in countering online disinformation.

“[A]ll campaigns should expect to see heightened disinformation and discourse manipulation activity leading up to, during and after the debates with the goal of polarizing opposing Democratic supporters,” the DNC said in an email sent to campaigns Monday, Politico reported.

The message said the DNC will monitor social networks using a specialized tool to detect disinformation trending online, but that campaigns should still flag any “inauthentic or suspicious activity” to the DNC or the platform where it appears, Politico reported.

The DNC cautioned that campaigns should be wary of how they go about responding to bogus claims circulating on social media, however, according to the report.

“When contemplating a response to disinformation narratives, campaigns should consider whether misinformation has reached a tipping point where the costs of ignoring the issue are higher than the costs of the amplification that a response might generate,” the DNC warned, Politico reported.

Political disinformation was abundant on social media during the 2016 U.S. presidential race, and subsequent investigations led by U.S. intelligence and law enforcement agencies found that Russian internet trolls interfered in the election to sow societal discord and influence its outcome in part by sharing polarizing content on platforms like Facebook and Twitter.

More recently, a bipartisan report released by the Senate Intelligence Committee this month warned that foreign and domestic adversaries are poised to expand on the Russian playbook to interfere in the 2020 race.

Twelve candidates vying to run as the Democratic nominee for president in 2020 will participate in the debate Tuesday, the fourth held by the DNC ahead of next year’s election.

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