WASHINGTON – During a Senate Judiciary Crime and Terrorism Subcommittee hearing titled “Dangerous Partners: Big Tech and Beijing,” U.S. Senate Democratic Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL) raised the issue of potential election interference in the 2020 campaign by China. There is no evidence that China has engaged in cyber warfare targeting our election system yet, in contrast to Russia. However, China has waged influence campaigns online in a local Taiwanese election and in response to the protests in Hong Kong. A recent Washington Posteditorial noted that during the Hong Kong protests last summer, Twitter had to remove, “hundreds of thousands of spammy accounts participating in a ‘state-backed information operation’” and Facebook “kicked off a smaller collection of pages and accounts with links to Beijing.”
“We know what the Chinese did in response to Hong Kong, within their own country and using social media – spam accounts and other disinformation campaigns about what was happening in Hong Kong. Are we naive to believe that they would not interfere in our 2020 election campaign… and if so, what should we be doing about this, in light of the potential threat that we have?” Durbin asked.
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