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WASHINGTON, March 16, 2021— On Tuesday, a coalition of racial-justice and platform-accountability organizations joined members of Congress to demand that Facebook fix its Spanish-language content-moderation gap, a crisis that is pushing extreme disinformation and hate to Spanish-speaking communities in the United States.

Participating organizations, including Free Press, the Center for American Progress, the National Hispanic Media Coalition and the Real Facebook Oversight Board, called on Facebook to immediately implement four key reforms.

“To address the rampant Spanish-language disinformation in the U.S.,” the organizations wrote in a statement today, “we call on Facebook to publicly identify an executive-level manager to oversee U.S. Spanish-language content moderation policy and enforcement, to publicly explain the translation process of the algorithm and content moderation and share the training materials used to review whether content violates existing policy.”

Declaring #YaBastaFacebook! (Enough, Facebook!) and releasing a video to educate policymakers and audiences about the crisis, the organizations issued a detailed “Spanish Language Disinformation Action Plan.”

“Facebook continues to ignore our concerns, and is making one thing perfectly clear: The safety and dignity of the Latinx community is not their priority,” said Brenda Victoria Castillo, president and CEO of the National Hispanic Media Coalition. “When we say ‘Ya Basta, Facebook,’ we’re telling Mark Zuckerberg and Facebook leadership to answer for the lives lost and the hate and harassment endured as a result of their shameful record managing Spanish-language content.”

The groups cited repeated examples of the Spanish-language misinformation gap, ranging from translation issues — failing to account for slang, dialects and context — to poor fact checking of Spanish-language news sites and extensive misinformation targeting the Latinx community. After Mark Zuckerberg promised to address these issues, the presentation noted, they got worse.

“Mark Zuckerberg must address the issue of Facebook’s U.S. Spanish-language disinformation and hateful activities during the U.S. House Energy and Commerce Committee on March 25th and publicly identify a C-suite position to oversee U.S. Spanish-language content moderation,” said Jessica Cobian, senior campaign manager on technology policy at the Center for American Progress.

Zuckerberg will testify before the U.S. House of Representatives Energy and Commerce Committee on Thurs., March 25. Committee member Rep. Tony Cardenas (CA–29), who spoke on today’s call, expects the committee to press this issue.

“Unfortunately, some of my colleagues are not committed to making sure that we hold these platforms accountable,” said Rep. Cardenas. “I am confident we’ll have much more success [during the upcoming hearing and in this Congress] than we have had before.”

Speakers noted that Facebook’s Oversight Board lacks the mandate or authority to address these issues, and is not chartered in any meaningful way to address the relationship between translation and oversight.

“We demand real accountability from Facebook, not more corporate spin,” said Carmen Scurato, senior policy counsel at Free Press. “We have issued clear demands and a realistic, actionable plan that Facebook must follow. Ya Basta, Facebook — this needs to end.”

“There is no excuse for lackluster content moderation in Spanish,” said Jessica J. González, co-CEO of Free Press. “Here in Facebook’s home state of California, more than one in four residents speaks Spanish. For years now we have put Facebook on notice. But it has continued to profit off of hate and lies instead of keeping our communities safe and informed.”

Read the Spanish Language Disinformation Action Plan here.  

Watch an archived video of today’s meeting here.

Free Press is a nonpartisan organization fighting for people’s rights to connect and communicate. Free Press does not support or oppose any candidate for public office. Learn more at www.freepress.net.