Senators complain about the mishandling of ‘fake news’ in Spanish

On Wednesday, November 3, several US lawmakers and activists criticized tech companies in an online panel, saying they are doing a shoddy job in stamping out Spanish-language disinformation messages on social networks.

Lawmakers have alleged that tech companies are either dropping “fake news” found in Spanish or failing to report it on social networks after removing or issuing warnings about the same English-language posts.

The debate on the topic was organized by Senator Ben Ray Logan of New Mexico and Free Press Action, a political group against disinformation.

Among the participants were Senator Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota, Representative Tony Cardenas of California and Rebecca Kelly Slaughter, commissioner of the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), which regulates deceptive business practices.

“The platforms use the vast majority of their resources to [eliminate] “Misleading information in English language content,” Logan said during the hearing.

In addition, Logan said people need the latest and most honest information to stay safe from disease or when a natural disaster forces cities to evacuate, as well as to see government officials accountable.

Logan, Cardenas, and Klobuchar are members of the congressional committees that oversee communications, the Internet, and consumer protection.

All three have been pushing social media platforms like Facebook to increase their monitoring and blocking of ‘fake news’ in other languages, particularly about COVID-19 and vaccines they say are costing lives.

“Platforms lag a lot when it comes to suppressing non-English information,” Klobuchar said, adding that more than 100 languages ​​are spoken in Minnesota. “Sometimes Spanish language posts are never reported. You can still find Spanish language posts on Facebook as of November 2020 promoting election lies without warning labels.”

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