Facebook, Twitter and YouTube fall short on policing Disinformation in Spanish

Lawmakers have criticized Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube for inadequate moderation of disinformation in Spanish, especially on topics like human smuggling and election misinformation. Despite warnings and advocacy efforts, these platforms continue to struggle with controlling misinformation in non-English languages, potentially disenfranchising Spanish-speaking voters. This failure to address misinformation in Spanish is seen as assisting disenfranchisement, according to Mariana Ruiz Firmat from Kairos.

Last year, lawmakers in the US warned the CEOs of major tech companies like Facebook, Twitter and YouTube that inaccurate information on key issues was proliferating on their platforms. They also urged them to strengthen their efforts to combat disinformation spreading in Spanish. In a July 2021 letter, the group of lawmakers explained that ”there is significant evidence that Spanish-language moderation efforts were not keeping pace with widespread accounts of viral content promoting human smuggling, vaccine hoaxes, and election misinformation”. More than a year later, advocates say that social media platforms are still falling short of moderating disinformation, and hostile and inaccurate content, particularly when it comes to non-English languages. This is especially relevant because Spanish-speaking voters make up a significant part of the US electorate. Meaning that the failure to eradicate misinformation in Spanish from social media platforms amounts to aiding and abetting disenfranchisement, according to Mariana Ruiz Firmat, executive director at tech-focused racial justice nonprofit organization Kairos.