Selena Gomez Is Taking on Misinformation. Big Tech Companies Can’t Ignore Her.


Photo by Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP, File

By Araceli Cruz

November 17, 2020

Inspired by Selena Gomez, UNICEF is removing ads on sites that spread misinformation. 

Selena Gomez is doubling down on her quest to end misinformation on the internet. The singer-actress is using her massive social media platform—almost 200 million followers on Instagram alone—to ensure that people know the truth about misinformation. And she’s reaching out to the biggest names in tech for help.  

Her campaign against misinformation on the internet began in September when she asked Facebook to do their part and help end misinformation on the internet. 

“It’s been a while since we sat down. We have a serious problem. Facebook and Instagram are being used to spread hate, misinformation, racism, and bigotry,” the singer wrote in a private message to Chief Executive Officer Mark Zuckerberg and Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg, according to Variety. “I am calling you both to help stop this. Please shut down groups and users focused on spreading hate speech, violence, and misinformation. Our future depends on it.”

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In late October, Gomez then sent a letter to Google and its CEO Sundar Pichai via her Instagram stories. 

She wrote: 

“Hi Sundar, Although we have never met, I just learned that Google is making millions of dollars putting ads on websites that spread disinformation about our election. I’m hoping you are also just finding this out too. Please shut this down immediately. The fate of our country depends on it. Thanks, Selena.”

According to Elle, Google has now responded to Selena’s letter and stated: 

“Thank you for reaching out about this, Selena,” the company said. “We agree that there is no place for hate or election misinfo when our platforms are used to run ads and we appreciate anytime potential violations are flagged to us. We have long standing policies to remove ads from articles inciting hate or violence or those that promote demonstrably false claims that could significantly undermine participation or trust in elections. When content violates our policies, we take action, including removing ads from the violating pages and in pervasive situations the sites. When advertisers want to go beyond our policies, we give them tools, like the ones UNICEF used, to ensure that they are in control over their ads running against content that is not suitable for their brand. We allow them to exclude specific websites as well as entire topics. And we aim to make this process as seamless as possible.”

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Today, more organizations are learning how they can do their part to fight against misinformation because of her activism. 

Gomez inspired UNICEF, where she serves as an ambassador, to follow her lead by removing their ads from websites that spread election misinformation. 

The FBI has released recommendations on evaluating the sources of information on the internet, and seeking out reliable and verified information from trusted sources. Click here for more details.



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