Lawmakers urge Meta to curb Russian misinformation in Spanish

On Wednesday, a group of Democratic lawmakers urged Facebook’s parent company Meta to root out more Spanish-language misinformation about Russia’s war in Ukraine.

Driving the news: Lawmakers sent a letter to CEO Mark Zuckerberg saying Russian state-controlled media is targeting Spanish speakers with false stories about the invasion.

  • “The viral spread of these stories stands in stark contrast to the assurances Meta has made to the public and members of Congress that he is prioritizing the urgent needs of Hispanic communities in the United States,” reads the letter, signed by 21 legislators.

The big picture: Misinformation and misinformation is a huge problem among Spanish-speaking communities.

  • Researchers say misinformation played a role an important role in some Latinos voting for former President Trump in the 2020 election after being bombarded with false information about President Biden.
  • A Nielsen report last year found that 28% of the content Latinos see on the news websites they visit most often was flagged as biased, conspiratorial or pseudoscientific.

What they say : Lawmakers including Rep. Tony Cárdenas (D-Calif.) and Sens. Ben Ray Luján (DN.M.) and Bob Menendez (DN.J.), say Meta has still failed to fully address misinformation for Spanish-speaking communities. .

  • The disinformation is “designed to undermine a resolute global response needed to oppose Russian government aggression,” the letter said.
  • Lawmakers cite a reported increased engagement between Facebook users and the RT en Español page in the last week of February.

Meta Spokesperson Andy Stone said in an email to Axios that the company removes content related to the war in Ukraine that violates policies and works with third-party fact checkers to debunk false claims.

  • “We are also giving people more information to decide what to read, trust and share by adding warning labels on content deemed false and applying labels to state-controlled media publishers, including those cited in the letter.”

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