By Shaun Boyd

DENVER (CBS4) – For the first time ever, the FBI is training political candidates in Colorado how to spot people who may want to hijack their identity and spread misinformation.

(credit: CBS)

These days, virtually every politician has a Twitter, Facebook or other social media account. They’re valuable tools for reaching voters but they’re also vulnerable to hackers.

“What election security means is evolving,” said State Rep. Mike Weissman who was among dozens of elected officials and candidates to attend the training.

State Representative Mike Weissman (D-Arapahoe County) (credit: CBS)

He says in addition to the traditional hacking of an election, there are now efforts to hack the electorate. The 2016 presidential race introduced a new dimension in cybersecurity.

From fake news on Facebook to email breaches at the Clinton campaign, propagandists attempted to manipulate voter behavior.

(credit: CBS)

“We’re not talking about the tabulation of the ballot, but what sorts of things begin to influence the public and is that really based on fact,” said Weissman.

(credit: CBS)

The FBI training was aimed at helping candidates identify the latest cyber threats and teaching them how to protect their email and online accounts against hackers. Secretary of State Wayne Williams says it’s something his office is tracking.

(credit: CBS)

“What we can’t control is what you see on media or social media. My office will be monitoring and responding to things that appear to be providing misinformation or disinformation. But as a voter, check and make sure you know the source from which you are re-posting or re-tweeting. Check to make sure it is a fact before you share it with other people.”

In addition to being the victims of fake news, candidates also sometimes help spread it. The left-leaning blog Big Media challenged state lawmakers to take a Fake News Pledge this past year, promising not to share fake news.

Only seven democrats including Weissman agreed.

“When we start to inject bigger and bigger amounts of incorrect information, I’ll just put it that way, regardless of the perspective it’s something we all need to be worried about.”

Shaun Boyd is CBS4’s political specialist. She’s a veteran reporter with more than 25 years of experience. Follow her on Twitter @cbs4shaun.

Comments (10)
  1. Gary Arpon says:

    “propagandists attempted to manipulate voter behavior” Um, yeah. That was called political advertising. It is still going on. Since government does it routinely, any way you fight back is OK.

  2. Richard Moore says:

    Have to agree with Richard Davidson. The FBI has lost all real credibility. Between them and the DoJ we have lost all real respect for our Law Enforcement at the Federal level. Both agencies are pretty much laughing stocks right now.

  3. Think the previous comments pretty much covered it. Only need to ask “what ever happened to the reporting of The Greatest Wildfire in Colorado History”???? Oh ya….. all MSM reporting was halted when it was found out it was started by an illegal alien.

  4. Richard Davidson says:

    Going to take a long, long time for the FBI to regain any semblance of confidence from the American people again!

  5. Robert Blum says:

    Geeez . . . Really beginning to look and sound as though FB and the FBI are becoming intertwined. . . as are GOOGLE and the DOJ . . . leading to an American landscape that is fundamentally transforming . . . indistinguishable between good and evil.

  6. Bob Forsberg says:

    still waiting for the punch-line….using FBI and “Fake News” in the same sentence.

  7. Clay L. Herbert says:

    Trust the FBI? Really? Those days are long long GONE!

  8. IOW- Politicians need ot keep their fat mouths shut. Long gone are the days where they could lie to the people and have days or weeks to come up with an alibi.

  9. Melissa Lipnutz says:

    The FBI learned on-the-job how to influence the latest Presidential election.

  10. Scott Siemsen says:

    The FBI leadership are purveyers of fake news and completely corrupt.this is a joke.

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