ORLANDO, Fla. — With a pandemic, civil unrest, and an election, tensions in the U.S. are high.
According to the Federal Bureau of Investigations, that gives adversaries an opportunity to undermine America’s election process.
By adversaries, FBI special agent Andrew Sekela is talking about foreign countries like Russia and China.
“They just want to sort of stoke the flame, so to speak, to inflame both sides to cause further divisiveness,” Sekela says.
According to the Sekela, most of the activity is done online through what he calls “malign foreign influence operations.”
That means foreign groups use social media to spread disinformation about issues, candidates and even the elections process. For example, they may incorrectly say that " ... a certain polling location has been closed or changed locations, or that the time and date of the election voting has changed," Sekela says.
In 2020, investigators have already received complaints about possible hacking attempts and disinformation being spread online.
Agent Sekela says the FBI has been working with law enforcement and elections supervisors in Florida to raise awareness about the threat of foreign influence that’s been increasing.
“It’s only become more prominent this election cycle,” said Sekela.
Agents say if voters have concerns about information they see on social media, they can report it to the operators of the site or the FBI.
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