U.S. lawmakers urge Facebook to do more to fight Russia propaganda in Spanish

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FILE PHOTO: 3D-printed images of the logos of Facebook and parent company Meta Platforms are seen on a laptop keyboard in this illustration

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A group of 21 U.S. lawmakers sent a letter to Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg on Wednesday voicing concern about what they called disinformation on the platform aimed at Spanish speakers about Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

The disinformation is spread by Moscow-backed outlets like RT en Espanol, among others, said the letter joined by Senators Amy Klobuchar and Ben Ray Lujan and Representative Tony Cardenas and 18 others.

“Facebook has continuously failed to show it is adequately addressing this problem for Spanish-speaking communities, and the success of Russian sponsored outlets in crowding out the information ecosystem for Spanish speakers serves as proof to this fact,” the lawmakers wrote.

“The viral spread of these narratives stands in stark contrast to assurances that Meta made to the public and Members of Congress that it is prioritizing the pressing needs of Hispanic communities in the United States,” the letter said.

Facebook, now called Meta Platforms, said in a statement that it was working to stop disinformation in Spanish.

“We’re removing content related to the war in Ukraine that violates our policies, and working with third-party fact checkers to debunk false claims. When they rate something as false, we move this content lower in feed so fewer people see it,” said spokesman Kevin McAlister, who said that the company was also “applying labels to state-controlled media publishers, including ones cited in the letter.”

The letter was signed by seven senators and 14 representatives, many of them from states like California and New York with significant Spanish-speaking populations.

(Reporting by Diane Bartz; Editing by Howard Goller)

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