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Biden Campaign Will Go after Misinformation Directly

The big social media platforms have pretty much all agreed that they won't censor lies in 2024. Lying is as American as apple pie, cherry-tree-chopping George Washington notwithstanding. The sky's the limit. There will be lies about Joe Biden's character, activities, and health continuously. How about: "BIDEN JUST HAD A STROKE AND IS IN THE HOSPITAL"? Lies can travel around the world three times before the truth gets its boots on. It's going to be brutal.

The Biden campaign understands this and also understands that having The Washington Post fact checker call out the lies a few days later won't help much, so it is gearing up to deal with misinformation itself. Biden has appointed Rob Flaherty as disinformation czar. Flaherty is extremely aggressive and very controversial. He will work with the campaign's legal, communications, and digital teams. Among other things, Flaherty plans to run paid ads on Facebook and other sites calling out false information and shaming the platforms for allowing it.

A key part of his strategy is to get hundreds of volunteers engaged to scour social media for disinformation, report it back to him, and refute it themselves where possible. He is particularly focused on attempts at voter suppression like: "BREAKING NEWS. THE ELECTION HAS BEEN POSTPONED UNTIL WEDNESDAY THIS YEAR." Or "YOU MUST BRING A PASSPORT OTHERWISE YOU WON'T BE ALLOWED TO VOTE."

Another thing Flaherty is going to deal with is the use of AI to produce deep fakes—photos and videos that look very convincing. This is not a theoretical threat. Ron DeSantis is already doing it. If the governor of Florida thinks it is all right, imagine what Trump will do. Or the people working at the Russian troll farm in St. Petersburg.

Many political observers agree that since the social media platforms aren't going to censor lies, it is up to the Biden campaign to counterattack them. In theory, Flaherty could post counter lies ("TWO 14-YEAR-OLD GIRLS JUST TESTIFIED IN COURT THAT TRUMP PROPOSITIONED THEM") but Democrats just don't do that kind of stuff.

Flaherty is not only going to go after disinformation. He is also working on making his boss more fun on TikTok and Instagram by posting pro-Biden videos featuring celebrities on them. The goal is to get young voters engaged by using sports and entertainment celebrities the kids like. Flaherty has his work cut out for him, but he is a force to be reckoned with. (V)

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