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As part of “The Latino Factor: How We Vote,” our 2024 election year series, we bring you a look at how disinformation affects Latino and Spanish-speaking communities, and how to combat its effects.

Read the episode transcript here.

For decades now, every new election cycle in the United States brings with it disinformation campaigns. Studies have shown that Latinos are more likely to consume and share misinformation.

“We understand that Spanish-speaking communities are more vulnerable to disinformation because of the lack of enough reliable sources. Because the platforms are not doing the same effort that they are doing in English to moderate or monitor disinformation in Facebook, Google, Youtube, etcetera,” Tamoa Calzadilla, editor-in-chief of Factchequeado, said to Latino USA.

“Fact-checking” is the process of verifying the accuracy of any information that is presented as fact to the public. The rise of dis- and misinformation has pushed many news outlets to make fact-checking part of their editorial processes, and has led to the creation of independent organizations like Factchequeado, which combats disinformation specifically in Spanish-speaking communities in the U.S.

For Tamoa —a former investigative journalist with more than 30 years of experience— truthful and reliable journalism is vital. This goes back to her own experience working under a repressive regime, in Venezuela, the country where she was born.

“We endured difficult times over there because we published investigations against the government about corruption, about political prisoners, about violations of human rights. And I was censored when I intended to publish those investigations with my team,” recalls Tamoa.

In 2022, Tamoa joined Factchequeado. The initiative was born that same year as a project by two pioneering fact-checking organizations: Chequeado from Argentina and Maldita.es from Spain. Factchequeado has a website and social media channels, where they publish their investigations, but they also have a WhatsApp number where anyone can send a message or image that they find suspicious and would like to have it verified.

In this episode, Tamoa shares the inside workings of disinformation in our Spanish-speaking communities and offers step-by-step advice on how to combat it.

Some of the tools that Tamoa recommends for verifying images received online are Reverse Image Search and Google Lens. Recently, Factchequeado also published a Bilingual toolkit for journalists covering Latino communities in the U.S.

Featured image by David Maris.

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