San Antonio Rep. Castro, others ask social media to curb Spanish-language election disinformation

'I’ve been disappointed to see [social media companies] tolerate lies in Spanish that would never be tolerated in English,' Castro said.

click to enlarge U.S. Rep. Joaquin Castro speaks during an appearance in San Antonio earlier this year. - Michael Karlis
Michael Karlis
U.S. Rep. Joaquin Castro speaks during an appearance in San Antonio earlier this year.
U.S. Rep. Joaquin Castro, D-San Antonio, has joined a coalition of Latinx organizations in demanding that social media platforms rein in the spread of misinformation targeting Spanish-speaking users ahead of the midterms.

In a letter sent to officials at social media firms including Meta, YouTube and Twitter, an umbrella group called the Spanish Language Disinformation Coalition (SLDC) warns that Spanish speakers are especially vulnerable to the spread of online disinformation, lies and threats of violence.

Two out of three Latinx internet users treat YouTube as a primary source for their news and information about politics and elections, according to Equis. That same research group also found that more U.S. Latinx users access Facebook's WhatsApp messaging platform than do any other ethnic or racial group in the country.

“I’ve been disappointed to see [social media companies] tolerate lies in Spanish that would never be tolerated in English,” Castro said on a Thursday press call organized by SLDC.

Earlier this week, the watchdog group Media Matters released a report showing that despite social media companies' repeated promises to block election disinformation, dozens of Spanish-language videos making claims about U.S. ballot fraud remain live on YouTube.

During his comments,  Castro called out Texas Republicans for promoting false claims about voter fraud via the debunked film 2000 Mules. Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, Attorney General Ken Paxton and others high-ranking members of the Texas GOP have promoted the movie as proof that widespread cheating cost Donald Trump the 2020 presidential election.

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