On Marketplace Tech, Media Matters’ Brennan Suen explains how YouTube can mitigate Spanish-language election misinformation

Suen: “YouTube and other platforms need to commit to consistently monitoring bad actors that Media Matters and others have also identified.”

Brennan Suen explains how YouTube and other social media platforms can mitigate Spanish-language misinformation

Audio file

Citation From the October 20, 2022, edition of American Public Media's Marketplace Tech:

BRENNAN SUEN (MEDIA MATTERS FOR AMERICA): These videos spread false claims about voting machines, including Smartmatic and Dominion voting machines, fraudulent or manipulated ballot narratives, including suggestions that dead people voted, that felons voted, that children voted, and then other general stolen election narratives as well.

KIMBERLY ADAMS (HOST): YouTube has explicit misinformation policies. Why are these videos specifically slipping past the platform’s moderating algorithm?

SUEN: I think it’s clear from our research that YouTube is not dedicating enough resources to Spanish-language enforcement. I think it’s also important to note that YouTube’s election misinformation policies pertaining to U.S. elections specify only past presidential elections, and the platform famously released these policies after the 2020 election had taken place, in December.

ADAMS: What is YouTube’s response been to your report?

SUEN: YouTube has suspended a few of the channels in one of our reports. In particular, we had a report on three very prominent bad actors, and two of those channels were removed. However, most of the videos from our latest report have remained on the platform.

ADAMS: What specific things can be done to help mitigate the spread of non-English misinformation and disinformation, not just on YouTube but on all the social media platforms?

SUEN: One, it’s important to have proactive policies. I think that platforms also need to implement enough resources, including automatic detection, that will search through videos, images, and text to identify potentially violative content. And they also need to have a sufficient number of Spanish-speaking moderators so that they can hold English and Spanish content to the same standard. I also think that YouTube and other platforms need to commit to consistently monitoring bad actors that Media Matters and others have also identified. They’re very consistent in the kinds of misinformation they’re spreading. And generally, if they’ve done it once, they’ll do it again. There’s overlap between these YouTube creators and radio hosts who put misinformation on YouTube, on Facebook, and also spread it on their radio programs as well.