Your social media feeds are being targeted and you may not even know it. Thursday, FBI agents in Louisville issued a warning to voters, political campaigns and companies to watch out for those trying to influence your vote or actions as we approach primary election season.
WHAS11’s Chris Williams was in on the briefing and took the message to someone who may be like those closest to you– mom! She’s probably like someone in your family, and this is especially important for them and all of us who use social media.
Chris says his mom loves to share. She’s what we call an over sharer and here’s his proof.
My mom likes to share on Facebook about family, animals, anything she’s interested in. I mean, she really likes to hit “share”.
“Yes, I share a lot. Probably too much”, she said as she admitted to being an “over-sharer”. “That’s because I’m a friendly person”, she insisted, with a smile.
And she is friendly, sweet, smart and kind. But she admits that even though her youngest kid is a journalist and preaches to her every chance he can, she doesn’t always think about confirming before she hits “share” on something that gets her wound up.
“I think there’s a lot of people out there that like to stir people up”, she said.
Does she ever get caught up in it?
“I try not to”, she answered with a laugh, “but sometimes it’s hard.
Which takes us to the FBI Louisville Field Office and Assistant Special Agent in Charge of the National Security Branch, Christie Curtis.
“We are aware that Russia, China and other nation state actors have and continued to try to influence the US elections”, said Agent Curtis. “These groups are looking to influence the election through a variety of means. Several of them are associated with cyber-attacks to include hacking as well as disinformation campaigns on social media.
The Feds fear that those outside agents are trying to hack into political campaigns, launch ransomware attacks on companies and fill your mom’s social media feed with misinformation.
“These disinformation campaigns could cause a discourse amongst the American public. That’s because they could take a very strong stance on a particular social issue and cause people to react in a way that they wouldn’t necessary react.
That’s something we’re concerned about for communities here in Kentucky and the FBI as a whole across the US.”
So I took those words of warning back to mom.
“I know, at my age, that I’m a target for some people and I will always listen to your advice”, she said, then she insisted that she’ll listen to the FBI advice too.
The Federal Bureau of Investigations has released a video to educate citizens, political campaigns and companies about the issue. You can watch their “Protected Voices” video here.