As the final ballots in the 2020 election are examined, misinformation is rampant online – from unfounded allegations of fraud to false claims of results.
Avaaz campaign director Oscar Soria, a nonprofit that tracks misleading posts and flags them to Facebook, said: “We were overwhelmed by the varying amount of misinformation. network. The consequences could be serious, he said.
“The threat is real. … The disorientation this causes is undermining confidence in American democracy,” he said.
This week, Soria said, the team followed multiple posts in Spanish with fearsome information about post-election protests and unfounded fraud allegations.
And the origins of many posts can be difficult to determine, he said.
“People are copying and amplifying messages, from Latin America, from here. They are copying everything and we don’t know where they come from. There are conspiracy theories over and over. They repeat the same words over and over again. lied until it came true for them, “she said.
Pérez-Verdía said she was shocked to see misleading messages popping up in WhatsApp groups, then watching them quickly go viral elsewhere – from Facebook posts to direct comments on chapters radio program.
Since the election, she said, the posts have focused on the purpose of election fraud.
“They are repeating in Spanish that this is a fraud, that the elections are being stolen, that the Communists are stealing everything,” she said.
Facebook said it is stepping up efforts to prevent misinformation
Facebook said in a statement that the company took some steps to combat false information in Spanish ahead of the election, including building a Spanish version of the voting information center. US-based reality check partners to review Spanish-language content on Facebook and Instagram. and cooperating with information checkers to develop a chatbot to help WhatsApp users receive accurate information.
Facebook spokesperson Andrea Vallone said Spanish-language posts will be included in this effort.
Facebook spokesperson Andy Stone said content on Facebook and Instagram would be downgraded by the company’s automated systems if the system determines that it may contain false information, “including claims. has been revealed about the “voting”.
“As the counting continues, we are seeing more reports of inaccurate claims about the election, though many of these claims have a low level of engagement on the platform,” Stone said. We are, but we are taking additional interim steps that we discussed earlier, to prevent this content from reaching more people. ”
Analysts say online posts can have real-world consequences
As campaign groups and party members began classifying election results, many speculated that spreading disinformation online was important in keeping Latino voters in South Florida away from Joe Biden. – especially posts that misrepresent the Democratic candidate as a radical socialist. These may raise concerns among Cuban and Venezuelan voters – who have fled oppressed socialist and communist governments in search of refuge in the United States – and members their family.
Janet Murguía, president and CEO of UnidosUS, told reporters earlier this week: “I think you cannot underestimate the extent to which micro-target misinformation is sent to Miami-Dade County and on a number of nationally targeted areas.
Domingo Garcia, president of LULAC, said Biden missed a big opportunity in Florida.
“You have a lot of Latinos fleeing oppression in Venezuela, Cuba, Nicaragua … etc and when you don’t react to the so-called socialist label and you think that won’t affect you. to you “I think it was a big mistake from the Biden campaign. … It hurt them in many parts of Florida, as well as parts of Texas, where I believed to win, “Garcia said.
Political analyst Fernand Amandi said for months Biden’s campaign was largely absent from conversation due to misinformation spreading online.
“In the information warfare, Operation Biden was not on the battlefield. I think it is impossible to realize the extent of the damage these attacks do to him and be able to counter them with his own message. he did a lot of damage to the image of Biden and the image of the Democratic Party, “he said.
It is not surprising, he said, to see disinformation spread online. But watch it go viral without any meaningful reaction.
“If you don’t deal with these conspiracy theories, for many people they will come true,” he said.
CNN’s Jose Manuel Rodriguez reports from Miami. CNN’s Catherine E. Shoichet reports from Arlington, Virginia. CNN’s Brian Fung contributed to this report.