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Online misinformation is spreading from English to Spanish » Yale Climate Connections


More than 40 million people in the U.S. speak Spanish at home. And as the climate warms, many of their communities are harmed by intensifying heat waves, storms, and wildfires.

So Spanish-speaking people need access to accurate information about the causes and consequences of global warming. But false and misleading content is pervasive online.

“You want to find out more about what information is getting targeted towards these communities,” says Cristina López of Graphika, a social media analytics firm.

The nonprofit Green Latinos, with support from Friends of the Earth, commissioned her team to study how Spanish-language misinformation about climate change spreads on platforms such as Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube.

They found that most of the misinformation does not originate in Spanish.

“Most of it comes from English-language resources,” she says.

Content aggregators will often find posts they think can go viral and add Spanish subtitles or voice-overs.

López says content moderation can help. So it’s crucial to devote more resources to rooting out climate misinformation in English and Spanish.

So no matter what language they speak, people can access climate information they can trust.

Reporting credit: Sarah Kennedy / Molly Multedo

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