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Camille François

It shouldn’t come as a surprise that terms like bots, trolls and even algorithms were relatively unknown to most members of Congress when the Senate Intelligence Committee began its investigation into Russia’s attack on the 2016 election. Like many social-media companies, the federal government was caught flat-footed by the tactics and tools used against us. Fortunately our committee had help.

Camille François was one of those brilliant researchers who ultimately helped us uncover a vast assault on our democracy. She and her colleagues at Graphika utilize innovative tools to track and combat online disinformation. Her work for the committee showed how Russia and other adversaries continue to manipulate our social-media feeds and divide us as a nation. As we head into the 2020 election, we must learn from our past mistakes and heed the call of talented and prescient researchers like Camille François.

Warner, a Democrat, is the vice chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee

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