The organizations have teamed up to help stop the spread of mis- and disinformation on democracy and public health.

Por Alma Sacasa
Febrero 18, 2021
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The organizations Voto Latino and Media Matters for America have teamed up to create a Latino Anti-Disinformation Lab to help stop the spread of mis- and disinformation on democracy and public health. The new project will combine Media Matters' media intelligence and disinformation expertise with Voto Latino's knowledge of Latinx communities and data on impacted audiences.

The lab will be run by Voto Latino co-founding president and CEO María Teresa Kumar, Media Matters for America president and CEO Angelo Carusone, and former Democratic National Committee Chairman Tom Perez. Last year, Latinos were disproportionately targeted with voter fraud misinformation, fear-mongering tactics, and disinformation about COVID-19, all of which inspired this collaboration.

"For decades, disinformation has been a weapon that corrupt governments in failing states use against their own people," Kumar said. "But now that same weapon is aimed at the most vulnerable in the United States, exploiting some officials' moral weakness and social media's deliberate lawlessness to sow greater distrust of our critical institutions than ever before. The spread of lies around the COVID vaccine is proof positive that disinformation has become a life and death issue if not curbed and addressed."

As part of the project, Media Matters will expand its monitoring of Spanish-language media and online communities to produce research that will then help Voto Latino decide on communications actions to take. Voto Latino will invest in the data and infrastructure needed to identify and communicate with Latinx voters at risk of receiving misinformation.

"Whether its public health, political campaigns, or policy debates — the way the media approaches the issue will greatly influence the outcome," said Carusone. "The right-wing sphere has spent years building a misinformation machine to target the Latinx community, which has resulted in a rising tide of disinformation. Despite how overwhelming it may seem, it is both possible and absolutely necessary to confront misinformation head on. This partnership will provide an essential check on that rising tide of disinformation."

"Misinformation targeting the Latino community is a very real and growing threat," added Perez. "We've got to address this threat head on with a substantial, focused, and concerted effort."