Thursday, July 7, 2022

Misinformation in the Latinx Community can Affect 2022 Midterm Elections

Previous to the 2020 election, the Latinx community was overwhelmed with misinformation and conspiracy theories on political and health issues.

Many believe the 2022 Midterm elections will create a similar scenario. Avaaz, an advocacy group, revealed that over 70% of Spanish-language misinformation is found online, compared to the 29% of English-language misinformation.

The Washington Post, in partnership with the Center for Mexican American and Latino/a Studies and Univision News, administered a survey to Latinx registered voters, with a concentration in Texas. The results showed that the respondents strongly believed the three false conspiracy theories presented to them. 41% agreed it was most likely true that Joe Biden was influenced by Black Lives Matter and ANTIFA; 35% believed that the “deep state” tried to sabotage Trump’s presidency: and 39% percent believed that powerful people spread the coronavirus on purpose.

Most Latinxs use WhatsApp, or other similar platforms, as their preferred platform for messaging services to keep in touch with their relatives in their countries. However, those apps present a dangerous opportunity for the spread of misinformation.

The analysis done with the survey results found that – especially amongst older people – social media usage can increase the belief in conspiracy theories because of the amount of inaccurate information online.

The Congressional Hispanic Caucus (CHI) has attempted to meet with social media platform leaders of Meta, TikTok, YouTube, and Twitter to discuss the issue of misinformation.

During the November 2020 election, Latinxs made up 44 % of the total voting age population registered to vote and over 60% of the voting age population nationwide. The Latinx community also accounts for more than half of population growth from 2010 to 2020. Therefore, combating misinformation in the Latinx community is imperative for protecting democracy in the U.S.

The Washington Post