On Latinos, Misinformation and Uncertainty: New Polling Insights

  • COVID-19 (e.g., “kids can’t get sick from COVID-19”)
  • Right-wing narratives (e.g., “Trump won the 2020 election”)
  • Left-wing narratives (e.g., “Trump faked COVID-19”), and
  • Non-partisan narratives (e.g., “the moon landing was faked”).

Our biggest takeaways from this exercise:

  • The landscape of misinformation is characterized both by a high level of familiarity with the narratives we tested and also a high level of uncertainty about whether these narratives are true or false;
  • In fact, we walked away believing that uncertainty is a much more important focus of attention than belief;
  • As such, we also saw the potential strategic value, counter to some conventional guidance, of airing out and debunking certain narratives;
  • And we concluded that “susceptibility” is not the right framework for understanding (or countering) disinformation, misinformation or propaganda.

There was a high-level of familiarity with the narratives we tested.

Half of the narratives we tested were familiar to more than 50% of Latino respondents, and some — like the Big Lie (the false narrative that claims the 2020 election was stolen from Donald Trump via fraud), and vaccine misinformation — reached upwards of 70%.

Conclusions & Recommendations

Countering disinformation, misinformation, and propaganda requires a multi-stakeholder approach that elevates the importance of engaging Latino communities in the United States. While there has been an increase in awareness about Spanish-language disinformation and misinformation — including about the narratives circulating online and the insufficient steps platforms have taken to moderate and reduce the spread of this content before it goes viral — more can be done to understand how far false and misleading narratives are spreading in Latino spaces online, how these impact communities across state lines, and how trusted messengers can play a part in reducing uncertainty and changing perceptions.

--

--

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store
Equis Research

Equis Research

Creating a better understanding of the Latino electorate