Are Spanish-speaking people in America more gullible than the rest of the country? A recent story from Univision, the largest Spanish-language television network in the United States, argues that “the Hispanic community in the United States has become the perfect victim of disinformation.” Latinx people are fifty-seven per cent more likely to use social media as a primary source of information about the coronavirus than other groups, according to Nielsen. And young adults in the demographic are more than twice as likely as the general population to use messaging apps like WhatsApp and Telegram. Stephanie Valencia, a former Google staffer and a co-founder of the firm Equis Research, which focusses on polling Latinx voters and conducts analysis on misinformation campaigns, wrote in a Washington Post opinion piece that many Spanish-language social-media pages and groups are “cesspools” where disinformation thrives uncontested.
Soon after the efforts to discourage COVID-19 vaccinations began, in late 2020, Latinx people were among the groups more hesitant to get the shots. Researchers from First Draft, a pioneering group that tracks misinformation and disinformation campaigns, tried to find out why, with a working hypothesis that such campaigns played a role.