#Ya Basta Facebook! Leaders Demand Facebook Address Spanish Language Disinformation Crisis; Release Action Plan and Demands Ahead of Hearings
New Video, Campaign, Op-ed, Spanish-Language Disinformation Action Plan Call on Mark Zuckerberg to Answer for Facebook’s Problems in U.S. Spanish Disinformation and Hateful Content and Close the Spanish Content Moderation Gap
March 16, 2021 Washington D.C. — Today, a coalition of racial justice and internet accountability organizations joined members of Congress to demand action from Facebook on it’s Spanish-language content moderation gap, a crisis that is pushing extreme disinformation and hate to Spanish-speaking communities in the United States. Participating organizations called on Facebook to implement four key reforms immediately.
“To address the rampant Spanish-language disinformation in the U.S.,” the organizations wrote in a statement today: “We call on Facebook to publicly identify an executive-level manager to oversee U.S. Spanish-language content moderation policy and enforcement, to publicly explain the translation process of the algorithm and content moderation and share the training materials used to review whether content violates existing policy.”
Declaring #YaBastaFacebook! and launching a provocative video to educate policymakers and audiences about the crisis, the organizations — Center for American Progress, Free Press, National Hispanic Media Coalition, and the Real Facebook Oversight Board — also issued a detailed “Spanish Language Accountability Action Plan.”
“Facebook continues to ignore our concerns, and is making one thing perfectly clear: the safety and dignity of the Latinx community is not their priority,” said Brenda Victoria Castillo, president and CEO of the National Hispanic Media Coalition. “When we say ‘Ya Basta, Facebook,’ we’re telling Mark Zuckerberg and Facebook leadership to answer for the lives lost and the hate and harassment endured as a result of their shameful record managing Spanish-language content.”
The organizations cited repeated examples of the “Spanish-Language Misinformation Gap,” ranging from translation issues — failing to account for slang, dialects and context — to poor fact checking of Spanish-language news sites and extensive misinformation targeting Latinos. After Mark Zuckerberg promised to address these issues, the presentation noted, they got worse in the Georgia runoff.
“Mark Zuckerberg must address the issue of Facebook’s U.S. Spanish language disinformation and hateful activities during the U.S. House Energy and Commerce Committee on March 25th and publicly identify a C-suite position to oversee U.S. Spanish language content moderation,” said Jessica Cobian, senior campaign manager on Technology Policy at the Center for American Progress.
Zuckerberg will testify before the U.S. House of Representatives Energy and Commerce Committee on Thursday, March 25. Committee member Rep. Tony Cardenas (CA-29) who spoke on today’s call expects the committee to press this issue.
“We are going to be asking Mark Zuckerberg very direct questions, on the record, in front of everyone about Facebooks commitment to protecting Spanish speaking users,” said Rep. Cardenas. “We expect more than rhetorical answers — we expect real and specific answers.”
Speakers noted that Facebook’s acclaimed “Oversight Board” lacks the mandate or authority to address these issues, and is not chartered in any meaningful way to address the relationship between translation and oversight.
“We demand real accountability from Facebook,” said Carmen Scurato, senior policy counsel at Free Press. “We have issued clear demands and a realistic, actionable plan for Facebook. Ya Basta, Facebook — this needs to end.”
“There is no excuse for lackluster content moderation in Spanish,” said Jessica J. González, co-CEO of Free Press. “Here in Facebook’s home state of California, more than 1 in 4 of residents speak Spanish. Facebook has been on notice and has decided to profit off hate and lies instead of keeping people safe and informed.”
The Center for American Progress is an independent nonpartisan policy institute that is dedicated to improving the lives of all Americans, through bold, progressive ideas, as well as strong leadership and concerted action. Our aim is not just to change the conversation, but to change the country.
Free Press is a nonpartisan organization fighting for your rights to connect and communicate.
The National Hispanic Media Coalition is a civil rights organization that was founded to eliminate hate, discrimination, and racism towards the Latino community. NHMC is devoted to increasing and improving portrayals of Latinos in the media while advocating for communications policies that elevate voices from within the community.
The Real Facebook Oversight Board is an emergency response to the ongoing harms on Facebook’s platforms from leading global scholars, experts and advocates.