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Local

Underwood urges social media companies to address election misinformation

U.S. Rep. Lauren Underwood, D-Naperville, speaks to the media Aug. 18 during a news conference condemning President Donald Trump's effort to limit the U.S. Postal Service.
U.S. Rep. Lauren Underwood, D-Naperville, speaks to the media Aug. 18 during a news conference condemning President Donald Trump's effort to limit the U.S. Postal Service.

U.S. Rep. Lauren Underwood is urging executives at large social media companies to address ongoing reports of election-related disinformation targeting Black voters on their platforms.

Underwood, D-Naperville, requested information on the steps the companies are taking to prevent voter suppression, interference and disinformation targeting Black voters, according to a news release. She wrote letters to the executives at companies such as Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.

She recently was named the chairwoman of the House Subcommittee on Cybersecurity, Infrastructure Protection and Innovation.

"The tragic reality of voter suppression tactics is that, too often, they work. The 2016 election cycle saw ‘the first fall in Black turnout in 20 years,' " Underwood said in the letter. "While I appreciate that social media companies have taken some corrective actions since 2016, I am concerned that too many blind spots remain."

As the head of the subcommittee, Underwood said she "would like to understand what measures" these companies are implementing to counter efforts to suppress the votes of Black Americans.

In her letter, Underwood said social media platforms were "hijacked by malicious actors aiming to silence Black voters and sow racial division." She also cited the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence which noted in 2018 that "no single group of Americans was targeted ... more than African Americans."

Underwood's letter to Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg can be found on her website.

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