FactCheck.org staffer Catalina Jaramillo was featured on the latest episode of “A Better Life?,” a podcast that explores how COVID-19 has made immigrants’ lives harder.
Jaramillo, a bilingual journalist and native of Chile, joined FactCheck.org in January as a writer, copy editor and translator for SciCheck, a project of FactCheck.org. Around that time, FactCheck.org started publishing SciCheck’s COVID-19 articles and videos in Spanish.
In this episode, called “Getting It Right,” Jaramillo speaks with Mia Warren, the host, and Nicolás Ríos, of the New York City immigration news site Documented, about confronting COVID-19 misinformation and disinformation directed at Latinos and Spanish-speaking immigrants.
During the interview, Jaramillo said immigrants can be the perfect prey for misinformation because they are more exposed to it than white audiences, and they often don’t have access to reliable information or a community that could counter it. According to a recent Nielsen report, Latinos spend more time on social media apps such as Instagram and Snapchat, or messaging platforms such as WhatsApp and Telegram, where messages are encrypted and misinformation flows more freely.
Jaramillo also mentioned research that shows social media networks are not doing enough to address misinformation in Spanish. According to the nonprofit organization Avaaz, last year, Facebook failed to flag 70% of misinformation in Spanish, compared with 29% in English. In March, Latino advocacy organizations launched “Ya Basta, Facebook” (“It’s enough, Facebook”), demanding more resources from the company. At that time Facebook told the media it was “taking aggressive steps to fight misinformation in Spanish and dozens of other languages, including by removing millions of pieces of COVID-19 and vaccine content.” (FactCheck.org is one of several organizations working with Facebook to debunk misinformation shared on social media.)
In the podcast, Jaramillo talks about how emotions play a big role in the way misinformation spreads, as Puerto Rican scientist Mónica Feliú-Mójer explained on this episode of “El hilo” podcast. Jaramillo also discussed FactCheck.org’s efforts to increase exposure to accurate information in English and Spanish through SciCheck’s COVID-19/Vaccination Project, which is funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, and SciCheck’s efforts to reach Spanish-speaking audiences by partnering with Latino media and organizations — including Univision Noticias.
“A Better Life?” is produced by Feet in 2 Worlds, an organization that promotes the work of immigrant journalists.