Google, Twitter, Microsoft, Facebook meet FBI, Homeland Security to talk 2020 vote
Representatives from top tech companies, including Google, Microsoft and Twitter, met at Facebook’s headquarters on Wednesday with government officials to discuss security ahead of the 2020 election, according to a recent report.
According to Reuters, Facebook said the companies and government agencies were working together to develop strategies to block previous weaknesses and avoid future threats with the first primary just five months away.
The meeting at Facebook’s Menlo Park, California, offices involved officials from the Department of Homeland Security, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, Bloomberg first reported.
Richard Salgado, Google's Director of Law Enforcement and Information Security, told FOX Business that collaboration with law enforcement and other tech companies is key to protect election integrity in the U.S.
"At Google, we've invested in robust systems to detect phishing and hacking attempts, identify foreign interference on our platforms, and protect campaigns from digital attacks. But technology is only part of the solution," Salgado told FOX Business in an emailed statement.
An anonymous source told Bloomberg about the private, full day of meetings focused on how tech companies are preparing security measures ahead of the 2020 election to prevent against similar disinformation campaigns that were led by Russians organized during the 2016 election cycle.
The companies also discussed how they would work with government agencies to keep their sites secure.
Representatives from Microsoft and Twitter confirmed to FOX Business that the companies both participated in the talks.
The Twitter spokesperson also said the company is “committed to doing our part,” in regard to maintaining the integrity of its site during the 2020 presidential election.
“Every year is an election year on Twitter and our mission to serve the public conversation is never more critical than during these moments,” the spokesperson told FOX Business in an emailed statement.
“We always welcome the opportunity to spend time with our peer companies and the government agencies tasked with protecting the integrity of the 2020 election. This is a joint effort in response to a shared threat, and we are committed to doing our part,” the Twitter spokesperson added.
Google's Salgado agreed, "We will continue to monitor our platforms while sharing relevant information with law enforcement and industry peers. It is crucial that industry, law enforcement and others collaborate to prevent any threats to the integrity of our elections."
Facebook did not immediately respond to FOX Business’ request for comment on Wednesday evening.
Facebook was highly criticized after the 2016 election for allowing disinformation to be spread on its site.
The company was also fined a record $5 billion by the Federal Trade Commission in July for violating consumers’ privacy rights. The probe was borne out of the revelation that a third-party firm – Cambridge Analytica – was able to access private information belonging to millions of Americans during the 2016 election cycle.
Joan Donovan, a research director at Harvard University’s Shorenstein Center, said the public should also be wary of such meetings between government agencies and tech giants for privacy reasons.
“We don’t know where the lines are drawn
internally,” she said. “We don’t know whether the tech companies
would consider your inbox or direct messages subject to sharing
with the state.”