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US Senate Panel Report Calls for Plan to Prevent Meddling in 2020 Presidential Election

By VOA News October 8, 2019

The U.S. Senate Intelligence Committee has issued a bipartisan report that calls on the U.S. government and private industry to prevent social media sites from being used to interfere in the 2020 presidential election, as they were in 2016.

The report, released Tuesday after more than two years of investigating foreign electoral meddling, found the Kremlin-backed Internet Research Agency "sought to influence the 2016 U.S. presidential election by harming Hillary Clinton's chances of success and supporting Donald Trump at the direction of the Kremlin."

The finding is consistent with evidence uncovered by the U.S. intelligence community after the 2016 election in which Trump defeated Democratic rival Hillary Clinton.

The report also said interference is likely to occur before the November 2020 elections.

The bipartisan group of Senators who prepared the report recommends the Trump administration form an interagency task force to monitor social media platforms for signs of foreign interference next year.

"The Federal government, civil society, and the private sector, including social media and technology companies, each have an important role to play in deterring and defending against foreign influence operations that target the United States," committee members said.

The report concluded that Russian influencers targeted African-Americans more than any other group in 2016 in a campaign to fuel domestic tensions and strengthen the election prospects of Trump.

The preparation of the report, titled "Russia's Use of Social Media," was led by Republican committee Chairman Robert Burr and Democratic vice chairman Mark Warner.

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