A panel meant to fight misinformation is hurt by it.
The Department of Homeland Security stopped the work of a group that was looking into fake news. People said that the government was getting too involved with the group.
After what the Department of Homeland Security called a "deliberate disinformation campaign," it announced Wednesday that it was stopping the work of an internal advisory board that was supposed to fight misinformation.
When it was announced last month that this group, called the Disinformation Governance Board, would be made, there was a storm of criticism. Critics came from all sides of the political spectrum, including civil liberty groups, but those on the right were the most angry. Republican leaders and commentators said it would be like Orwell's Ministry of Truth and control what people say.
In a written statement, a department spokesman said that was never the board's job. Instead, it was meant to help the different agencies in the department work together to fight against foreign enemies, drug or human traffickers, and other international crime groups that spread false information.
But now, only a few weeks after it began, it's not clear what will happen to it. Nina Jankowicz, who is an expert on fake news and was chosen to lead the board in the spring, gave her resignation on Wednesday after being harassed and abused online in a very mean and personal way.
In a statement, the department said, "False attacks have become a major distraction from the department's very important work to fight disinformation that threatens the safety and security of the American people."
The department's secretary, Alejandro N. Mayorkas, has asked two former officials from both parties to look into how to fight fake news: Michael Chertoff, who was the department's secretary when George W. Bush was in office, and Jamie S. Gorelick, who was the deputy attorney general when Bill Clinton was in office.
Mr. Mayorkas told them that the board would not meet during the 75 days they had to make recommendations. "Its work will be put on hold," the statement said, confirming what The Washington Post had already reported.
Due to Ms. Jankowicz's departure and the board's rough start, it is unlikely that it will work again in a similar way to how it does now.
Rep. Matt Gaetz of Florida, who is a Republican and one of the board's many critics, wrote on Twitter, "We've killed the Ministry of Truth!"
Angelo Carusone, the head of the left-leaning watchdog group Media Matters for America, said that the opposition to the board came together quickly and strongly, which suggests an organized and driven effort. He said that fighting fake news has been a part of the government's work for a long time, going back to the Soviet Union's campaigns during the Cold War.
He said that because of the way things are in politics right now, the subject itself has become a lightning rod, which is something that officials should have been ready for. Instead, the answer seemed to catch them by surprise.
Mr. Carusone said, referring to the racist mass shooting in Buffalo, "I think it's a disservice to all of us if we lose this function, especially after what we just saw there, which is a result of this information landscape." "It's a fire starter."
As the head of the board, Ms. Jankowicz, 33, took most of the attacks, which is something she knows a lot about. In her most recent book, "How to Be a Woman Online," she writes about how trolls and other bad people on the internet hurt her and other women.
In a letter of resignation she sent on Wednesday, she said she joined the department this year to help deal with the effects of false information.
"It is very disappointing," she wrote, "that misunderstandings of the Board have become a distraction from the Department's important work." She added that recent events around the world and in the United States show why the Board is needed.