Misinformation on Social Media Targets Latino Communities
From topics about voting to the notorious coronavirus, misinformation targets different communities and minority groups as victims, filling fear and unprecedented worry about things that concern the nation. The Latino community is one of the minority groups that have been a target of misinformation.
Reports have claimed that misinformation in the English language has been translated to Spanish to target the community that uses the language, propagating wrong information that can harm or even break someone's reputation. Incidents of the actual spread of misinformation are recorded.
How Misinformation Travels
Associated Press mentioned an incident in Las Vegas when the former Chairman of the Democratic Party, Tom Perez, guested on a Spanish Language show when a caller blasted baseless complaints about both parties, encouraging Latinos not to cast their votes at all.
But the call during that radio show is not the only platform that has been dominated by countless misinformation that victimizes the minds of the Latinos. Channel News Asia mentioned a report saying that most of the false narratives in the Spanish language are translated from English and then circulated to other social media platforms like Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, and even group chat apps such as Whatsapp. From there, the false information will circulate, with a high possibility of making people believe its claims.
According to Associated Press, the most recent one is during the election season. Automated accounts drove the undetected spread of disinformation about the candidates on social media platforms.
City News 1130 mentioned a report from Stanford University researchers, in collaboration with the University of Washington, a social network analysis firm, and Atlantic Council's DFRLab. The report suggests that "The most prominent narratives and those shared were either closely aligned with or completely repurposed from right-wing media outlets."
According to Channel News Asia, the reports that encompass misinformed details, which are originally in the English language, are being translated in various countries such as Brazil, Colombia, Nicaragua, and Mexico. From these countries, Hispanic people who are voters in the United States will receive misinformation from their family members through group chat apps. Details also suggest that the misinformation is usually small and targeted, making it difficult to prevent.
Associated Press argued that WhatsApp and similar services are famous for the Hispanics residing in the United States because these kinds of services allow them to communicate via the Internet for free with their families and relatives from other parts of the world. This popularity makes the app a channel of misinformation. Perez mentioned in City News 1130 that the volume and sources of Spanish language information are wide-ranging, and that should alarm everyone.
Channel News Asia furthered that misinformation has continued a furious pace following the election. More than 20 Latino progressive groups formulated a letter dated in January that urges Spanish-language radio stations to crack down on the practice. As Florida Democratic Strategist Evelyn Perez-Verdia explained, the circulation of false narratives about current events has doubled.
WATCH: Spanish-Language Disinformation Campaigns Target Latino Voters - from NBC News
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