Beyer Introduces Misinformation Prevention Legislation

Tuesday, Falls Church’s U.S. Rep Don Beyer introduced legislation to educate and protect Americans against mis- and disinformation. Stating it is inspired by Finland’s K-12 program to protect Finns from Russian propaganda, the “Educating Against Misinformation and Disinformation Act” would, if passed, improve Americans’ recognition of and resilience to mis- and disinformation, Beyer said.

“Russian misinformation before and during their invasion of Ukraine is shining a spotlight on the urgent need to defend our country against the threat posed by these malign influence operations,” said Beyer. “Even before the current conflict in Ukraine, widespread state-sponsored misinformation campaigns designed to shape distorted narratives of reality posed a major challenge to countries including the United States. This is a clear national security risk, and we must do more to build up our public defense to meet the needs of the present era of information warfare.”

The “Educating Against Misinformation and Disinformation Act” would establish a commission to support information and media literacy, and address misinformation and disinformation.

The commission would be charged with analyzing the status of education about misinformation and disinformation, reporting on that status annually, creating a national strategy to promote information and media literacy with a particular focus on mis- and disinformation. It would report on how misinformation and disinformation are spread; and report to Congress after 18 months on the status of the commission and an assessment of education to address mis- and disinformation.

It would also establish a grant program to improve the American public’s resilience to dis- and misinformation, establish a study on the extent of information and media literacy among the American public,and to make recommendations to Congress on how to improve it. It would also require an assessment from the Department of Education of the commission’s effectiveness three years after enactment.