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The Technology 202: Disinformation campaigns targeting veterans are in the spotlight on Capitol Hill today

[2019.11.13, Wed 15:03] Ctrl + N Experts will warn lawmakers on Capitol Hill today that foreign actors have been targeting U.S. veterans across social media for at least eight years. "These operations are surgically precise, targeting influential people and organizations in the veteran community," Vlad Barash, science director at the research firm Graphika, will tell members of the House Veterans' Affairs Committee at a hearing about online scams impacting veterans, according to prepared testimony. Veterans were a key target of Russia's effort to sow discord and spread disinformation ahead of the 2016 presidential election. Kristofer Goldsmith, the Vietnam Veterans of America's chief investigator, will warn that veterans are a prime target for online influence campaigns because they're "More likely than any other demographic in the U.S. to vote, run for office, and motivate others to vote," according to his prepared testimony. Goldsmith plans to argue social media companies are putting the burden on veterans and groups representing them to detect online scams and interference, effectively forcing them to act as "An unpaid consultant" for platforms like Facebook. In March, a Macedonian businessman hijacked the Facebook page "Vets for Trump," where more than 100,000 veterans shared pro-Trump posts and conservative memes, my colleague Craig Timberg reported. The House Committee on Veterans Affairs will host a hearing on "Hijacking our Heroes: Exploiting Veterans through Disinformation on Social Media" at 2 p.m. Eastern time.
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