MIAMI – As Joe Biden approaches victory in Pennsylvania and Georgia, Spanish-language misinformation is on the rise among Florida Latinos claiming fraud and elections fraudulently.
A prominent former candidate for state office in Florida posted a hidden Spanish video on Facebook to promote the unfounded claim that the election was being stolen from President Donald Trump. The video has since been reposted on Twitter, where it has been viewed more than 116,000 times in the past two days.
“You have historic authority to destroy the communists who are participating in the election,”; the man said, adding that it was time to take to the streets to protect Trump.
A new wave of false statements came after Democrats raised the pre-election warnings about Spanish-language misinformation spread among Latino voters in Florida. And while the researchers say Election Day has passed without evidence of major disinformation campaigns in English on social media, they warn that the coming days and weeks will be challenging. .
On Friday morning, a themed photo was passed over to WhatsApp groups, a popular app by Latinos in Florida, showing Biden leaning uncomfortably behind the former Electoral Council president. National election Venezuela, who was accused of fraudulent elections in the South. U.S. Her image was used in various Spanish misinformation memes about the results of the US election on WhatsApp.
Content posted to WhatsApp is only viewable to members of the group to which it is posted, which makes it nearly impossible to gauge the spread of misinformation on the app, This information often circulates in large, closed groups at the same time with little oversight.
Misleading, false, and conspiracy statements are circulating in Spanish about the election results that are easily viewable on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube, despite the policies of all three companies. prohibit or limit the spread of conspiracy theories and false information related to the election. According to the researchers interviewed by NBC News, policies have been implemented with more consistency over content posted in English.
Develop false information about the Spanish language
Flavia Colangelo, researcher at GQR, a Democrat research firm that advises campaigns on misinformation in Spanish, says she’s concerned about what she sees in the language. Spain on social networking platforms.
“Facebook and YouTube have taken steps to remove English QAnon content from their platforms, but there’s still a large amount of Spanish and easily accessible,” she said.
Andrea Vallone, a Facebook spokesperson, told NBC News that the company has multiple fact-checking partners who review Spanish-language posts on Facebook and Instagram to enforce the company’s policies. against misleading and hostile information. The company has also actively applied labels to English and Spanish posts on Facebook discussing the election, linking users to a voter information hub that Facebook translated into Spanish. Nha.
WhatsApp, owned by Facebook, also has a new feature that allows users to search the web for what is being discussed in their chats, Vallone said, adding that this could help, Vallone said. limit the spread of false information.
While some misinformation is being spread on Facebook, WhatsApp, Twitter and YouTube creating parallels between Biden and Latin American socialist countries, other posts are copying the collected conspiracy theories. attracted attention in English among conservatives on the internet.
Alex Joseph, a YouTube spokesperson, said the company has policies against misinformation about how to vote but does not prohibit content from giving false views about the results of the election.
“It is our policy to express a view on the outcome of a current election or the counting process,” said Joseph. “Our policies are global and we apply them consistently across all languages and regions.”
In mid-October, YouTube expanded its policies against pre-election hostility and harassment to include bans on conspiracy videos, including videos of unscrupulous conspiracy. grounded and widely disseminated about QAnon and “pizzagate”. However, that ban only applies to videos targeting a specific group or individual with a conspiracy that is used to justify real-world violence. Followers of both QAnon and “pizzagate” are accused of engaging in many violent crimes in recent years, including murder.
Spanish-language YouTube accounts that previously spread topics related to various conspiracy theories, including those accusing George Soros of sponsoring immigrants to the US, are now concentrated. on the results of the US election. Many of these videos claim Biden is linked with socialism and question whether there is cheating in the vote count.
According to researchers and posts viewed by NBC News, Twitter has also been a hotspot of Spanish-language misinformation surrounding the election results.
Another unsubstantiated viral conspiracy that actually moved from Twitter to WhatsApp questions the legality of printed ballots in several states. It also announced Trump would send the National Guard to battlefield states for a secondary check on all votes, according to Twitter posts shared in major WhatsApp groups and obtained by NBC News.
Twitter spokesperson Trenton Kennedy told NBC News that the company has a working group in multiple languages, including Spanish, that tracks the US election content.
“We have been and will continue to objectively enforce our rules to preserve the integrity of the conversation surrounding this election,” Kennedy said.
President’s false statement, in Spanish
Many false statements amplify or exaggerate messages coming directly from Trump’s public statements about election fraud. Twitter and Facebook have both actively tagged various Trump posts in violation of their election-related misinformation policy.
The presidential election campaign released a statement on Friday morning that, “We are confident that we will find improperly harvested ballots,” regarding the vote counting process at Georgia.
The statement also stated, “There are many anomalies in Pennsylvania, including that election officials prevent our voluntary legal observers from meaningful access to the counting sites.”
Similar topics are appearing on viral posts on Twitter, in WhatsApp groups, on Facebook, and on Spanish-language YouTube channels.
During the popular YouTube analytics program live broadcast with nearly half a million subscribers, the host started the show by questioning whether to cheat the election. She also said that it was “suspicious” that in one state, Biden’s numbers continued to rise, while Trump’s numbers remained the same.
In response, Trump supporters in Miami gathered outside La Carreta, a popular Cuban restaurant, to rallied around unfounded claims of election fraud, which they are sharing with hashtag # StopTheBidenSteal. The demonstrations took place in peace.
Democrat strategist Evelyn Pérez Verdía, who watches out false information in Spanish, says Trump is fueling the anger of his supporters and it is reflected in the misinformation passed down. go everywhere.
“Trump and his campaign are playing with fire, they are playing with emotion. In their hearts, they feel they are defending democracy, so it’s very dangerous and it comes out of the president’s mouth and his campaign, ”she said.
Part of what is sparking emotions in Florida is that a large number of Latinos come from countries with corrupt governments and have lived through fraudulent elections.
Pérez Verdía said: “It has generated a lot of PTSD, and added that misinformation is making people feel like they’re being fooled here after experiencing the demise of democracy at home.
Colangelo, a GQR researcher, worries that confusion and uncertainty about election results is laying the perfect foundation for false stories of development information.
“When it comes to our democratic process, nothing is more important than securing trust in our system, which is why our social media platforms need,” Colangelo said. act faster to remove the false information about the Spanish language ”.
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