Wednesday, February 1, 2023

The Spanish Language Misinformation Crisis

Spanish-language misinformation on social media platforms is flourishing, even as tech companies add more moderators, adopt stricter content rules, add context labels and block offending accounts.

Why it matters: Latinos are increasingly turning to social media for news during the pandemic — including important elections where Spanish-language misinformation sometimes sits unchallenged, posing threats to health and democracies.

Driving the news: In light of misinformation that has been spread about COVID-19, vaccinations and the 2020 election, the Congressional Hispanic Caucus requested meetings with leaders of Meta, TikTok, YouTube and Twitter last month to discuss what steps platforms are taking.

“Every week that goes by without adequate action by these companies places our communities at greater risk of being exposed to misinformation,” Sen. Bob Menendez (D-N.J.) told Axios in an interview. He said past responses to inquiries from the caucus have been “completely unsatisfactory” and it’s time for in-person meetings: “We want to have engagement at the highest levels.”

The Committee on House Administration held a hearing on Monday, where former Democratic Rep. Debbie Mucarsel-Powell said messages perpetuating “the big lie” that Democrats stole the 2020 election and COVID-19 vaccine falsehoods have jumped from social media and messaging groups to more mainstream outlets.

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Between the lines: Where platforms are quick to remove misinformation posts in English, some identical posts in Spanish remain online. A Spanish-language video on Facebook falsely claiming that COVID-19 vaccines have microchips and are connected to Bill Gates can still be viewed . An English-language […]



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