Don’t Fool Mi Abuela: Immigrant Youth Are Going To War With Disinformation


Image via United We Dream Action.

By Araceli Cruz

October 30, 2020

“When immigrant youth saw what their family members were sharing on social media, they took charge and created a program to reclaim the web.”

Latinos are getting besieged with disinformation news to influence their presidential vote. From threatening emails to Florida voters to vulgar memes related to presidential candidate Joe Biden, disinformation news is increasingly rampant as Election Day nears. But how can Latinos know what’s real news and what’s disinformation? At least one immigration organization is reaching out to their network to stop disinformation dead in its track. 

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United We Dream Action (UWDA), an immigration organization, is taking on disinformation targeted at Latinos on social media and using the same internet platform to correct the wrongs. 

“When immigrant youth of UWDA saw what their family members were sharing on social media, they took charge and created a program to reclaim the web,” Meghna Mahadevan, disinformation defense strategist of UWDA, said. “Communities of color, especially Latinx and Spanish-speaking communities, have been bombarded with racist disinformation coming from their local radio to ads on social media platforms like YouTube and Facebook.” 

Mahadevan said they “have the power to disrupt disinformation.” She said by reaching out to their communities via social media or through conversations at home, they can engage in dialogues with their families and community members to ultimately help mobilize one another to take action against disinformation. 

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UWDA introduced several initiatives, including launching a WhatsApp group and a “Reclaim the Web” Instagram page to share culturally relevant, factual, and non-partisan information and resources with the Latino community.

The content includes resources on talking to family members who believe in dangerous conspiracy theories, as well as Spanish TikToks warning against conspiracy theories. The content also provides useful information on voting in English and Spanish and many memes about voting by mail, among other topics.

“Our goal is to stop the spread of disinformation while ensuring every voter has their vote counted,” Mahadevan said. 

Check out some of their social media initiatives below. 

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Spanish TikToks Warning Against Conspiracy Theories

Last month, Reps. Debbie Mucarsel-Powell (D-Fla.) and Joaquin Castro (D-Texas) sent a letter to the Director of the FBI demanding an investigation into the disinformation that was targeting Latinos. 

“As the FBI works to secure our elections, we urge you to keep the Latino community in mind and consider efforts of foreign actors to spread disinformation and sow doubt in our election systems among Latinos, especially in South Florida,” the letter concluded, noting that the growing Latino population represents nearly 20% of the eligible voters in the Sunshine State.


CATEGORIES: Elections | Immigration | Media


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