Platform Accountability

In 2020, Facebook announced a series of policy updates and enforcement actions to address militias and election misinformation in 2020. Multiple civil rights, racial justice and internet accountability organizations immediately flagged Spanish-language content that seemingly violated Facebook’s newly-updated content moderation policies. 

Violations included election misinformation, from candidate disinformation and polling/voting misinformation, and proliferation of “stop the steal” content. Other disinformation includes COVID vaccine theories and other racially charged content intended to divide the Latinx community against other races. One post in particular–a call to arms in Spanish, depicting several photos of armed white men, women, and militia groups with a caption urging white individuals to stand up and defend their lives, their flag and their country with pride–is still up and visible to Facebook users today. 

The organizations organizing this call, along with several partners, sent a series of demands to Facebook in November which have gone unmet. Read the letter here

Watch the March 16th press conference event:

Spanish Language Disinformation Action Plan — #YaBastaFacebook!

Issued by the Center for American Progress, Free Press, National Hispanic Media Coalition and the Real Facebook Oversight Board ~ March 16, 2021

Our organizations have met with Facebook several times, we have flagged content through emails, and we have publicly shared our concerns with Facebook about the rampant spread of U.S. Spanish-language disinformation and hateful activities on the platform. We remain deeply disappointed that concerns are continuously ignored. It is time for Facebook to meaningfully act and commit to protecting its Spanish-speaking users.

We demand Facebook immediately acts on our Spanish-language disinformation action plan:

  1. Hire and publicly identify a C-Suite position to oversee U.S. Spanish-language content moderation policy & enforcement.
  2. Publicly explain the translation process of the content moderation algorithms, including how the algorithms are trained and audited to ensure proactive detection, reporting, and processing of Spanish-language content.
  3. Clarify whether Facebook’s Content Moderators evaluate content in-language, translated, or both. Explain precisely how many US-based Spanish-language content moderators the company employs, as well as the overall number of US-based content moderators. In each case, provide the breakdown of between direct employees and contractors involved in moderation.
  4. Publicly share the materials that are used to train content moderators of U.S.-based Spanish-language content.

Additional Issue Areas for Facebook’s Spanish-languge Disinformation Gap

Center for American Progress, Free Press, National Hispanic Media Coalition are founding members of Change the Terms, a set of recommendations and model corporate policies to online companies to adopt in efforts to curb hateful activities on their platforms. Facebook’s efforts to reduce hateful activities and disinformation must be replicated in Spanish and other languages in which Facebook operates. The following issue areas and action steps for Facebook align with our recommendations on matters of enforcement, training, transparency, staff, and governance.

Enforcement

  • Facebook should effectively enforce the Facebook Community Standards for all bilingual and Spanish-language content at a commensurate rate of that of English content.

Evaluation and Training

  • Spanish-language content moderators should be culturally competent in the social and political issues affecting the Spanish speaking community, as well as receive anti-racist training.
  • Facebook should share all content moderation training materials, this includes the Known Questions and Implementation Standards documents.
  • Because Spanish-language translation issues are prominent and can be delicate depending on cultural and dialect context, Facebook should regularly audit and test its machine learning algorithm for effectiveness, accuracy, and bias.

Transparency

  • We demand that Facebook develop technology to begin to achieve parity in its content moderation practices across various languages, including Spanish.
  • Facebook must clarify how it is training its hate speech detection AI to proactively search for content in Spanish.
  • Facebook must clarify how it identifies content in Spanish for Community Guidelines or Terms of Service violations, and whether it uses its translation software for these purposes.
  • Incorporate all Spanish-language content moderation data into its transparency reports.
  • Include Spanish-language content moderation as an integral part to any future independent audit assessments.

Governance and Authority

  • Publicly identify a C-Suite position, to overlook efforts to moderate hateful activities, misinformation, and disinformation in Spanish in the United States.
  • Facebook should prioritize culturally competent candidates who are fluent in U.S. Spanish dialects for this position.

Related

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Facebook’s Spanish Language Disinformation Gap

Despite repeated efforts by the undersigned groups to alert you of this issue throughout this election cycle, Facebook did very little to curb Spanish-language disinformation campaigns attempting to influence and divide Latinx voters. As disinformation campaigns continue to proliferate post-election, we urgently implore you to address this ongoing issue.

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To truly protect the privacy, civil rights, and dignity of the Latinx community, it
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