Misinformation / DML Prevalence: Spain
What follows is a description of high profile misinformation or disinformation events in Spain. The majority of these events are tied to rising political tensions occurring before an election. These research findings have been included in the attached spreadsheet.
Far-right Propaganda on Facebook Ahead of Parliamentary Elections in the European Union
- Far-right propaganda from fake Facebook accounts spreads divisive, white-nationalist, anti-immigrant content. The number of followers accumulated by these fake groups and pages was larger than that of actual far-right groups operating in Spain.
- For example, fake news was disseminated about Catalan separatists shutting down a cancer treatment center for children.
Confronting Fake News and Misinformation
- The Spanish government created an inter-institutional group to identify and rectify fake news before the April 28, 2019, general election.
- In many cases, government leads all initiatives against fake news. Although this is expected, it indicates a potential lack of transparency. Furthermore, politicians are known to use social media and strategies to unfairly influence and win elections.
AVAAZ Tackles Fake Far-Right Accounts on Facebook
- AVAAZ, a U.S.-based nonprofit organization, discovered that Facebook's current risk assessment policy for Spain failed to adequately identify threats and disinformation. Social media platforms that rely on high volumes of traffic cannot be trusted to adequately regulate popular topics of disinformation.
Growing Distrust of Traditional Media in Spain Leads to a Demand For Increased Transparency
- The mainstream media's influence was weakened after the Catalan referendum when content creation began following social divisions. This led to an increase in the number of and trust in digital-born media outlets.
Distrust of Internet Content Linked to Polarized Political Situations
- In Spain, misinformation/disinformation events are closely tied to political tensions. There was a dramatic increase in the presence and activity of bots and fake profiles before the April 2019 election.
- Mainstream media is attempting to cater to the public's request for more reliable media reporting by hiring fact-checkers. However, trust in traditional media decreased by 7% between 2017 and 2018.
The Majority of Fake News Circulating in the Spanish Public Sphere is Created by Political Parties, Governments, and Corporations
- It has recently been discovered that political parties, governments, and corporations contribute to the majority of fake news and propaganda circulating in the Spanish public sphere. This could potentially have dire consequences for the democratic process.
Closing the Digital Media Literacy Gap
- Spain is currently attempting to increase the rate of digital literacy of the youth.
- Part of the Spanish digital agenda strategy, the program is aimed at unemployed youth aged between 18 and 35 years of age.
To answer this question, we've searched for direct answers by looking at places where one would expect to find information on the impact of high profile disinformation events on Spain's general population, such as digital communications and consumption news reports, digital trend reports, news reports, and publicized government reports. An emphasis on high profile events with far-reaching consequences was taken into consideration while fulfilling this request.