On December 1, 2021, Congressman Charlie Crist sent a letter to Federal Trade Commission Chair Lina Khan urging a “crack down” on foreign language misinformation after reports that foreign language misinformation is moderated far less than English misinformation. As of November 16, 2022, it appears that the FTC has yet to respond to Crist’s letter.

CREW has requested all communications to FTC commissioners regarding non-English language misinformation related to US elections or COVID-19 on FTC-regulated mediums, as well as specific metrics comparing Spanish-language moderation to moderation of content in English.

The FTC regulates television, radio and social media platforms—including those where misinformation proliferates, such as TikTok, Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, and Parler—and must be held accountable to properly regulate misinformation on these mediums. There is a strong public interest in the FTC’s resolution of complaints about the spread of foreign language misinformation, particularly involving American political affairs.

CREW also requested all reports filed by Amazon, TikTok, Facebook, Reddit, Snapchat, Twitter, WhatsApp and YouTube, including specific metrics on the number of non-English language posts were flagged or taken down compared to posts in English, and how many non-English language content moderators are employed at each of these companies.

The requested records would reveal the disparity between the moderation of English and non-English language content, in turn shedding light on the significant risk of foreign language-speaking communities in the United States being presented far more often with falsehoods on social media.

FOIA request

Photo courtesy of Carl Clifford via Creative Commons license.

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