In July 2020, Global Americans—in partnership with the Global Engagement Center at the United States Department of State, and in collaboration with four regional partner organizations: Centro para la Apertura y el Desarrollo de América Latina ((CADAL) Buenos Aires, Argentina), Medianálisis (Caracas, Venezuela), Instituto Tecnológico y de Estudios Superiores de Monterrey (Monterrey, Mexico), and Universidad del Rosario (Bogotá, Colombia)—launched a research project dedicated to understanding the dissemination of disinformation, misinformation, and propaganda in Latin America and the Caribbean. Over the past 15 months, these four teams engaged in extensive qualitative and quantitative research and social media monitoring in order to gain insights into the misinformation and disinformation landscapes in Argentina, Chile, Colombia, Mexico, Peru, and Venezuela.
In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, our regional partners conducted analyses of various media outlets and social media platforms in order to determine how information regarding public health statistics, vaccines, and pandemic policy responses is disseminated among and consumed by Latin American audiences. They also engaged in country-specific case studies pertaining to social media activity surrounding elections, social unrest, diplomatic disputes, and other phenomena of urgent import to the six countries covered by the project. All four regional partners found evidence that, considering regional variance and experimental assumptions of representative sampling via social media networks, demonstrates the ubiquity of both foreign-state and domestic efforts to influence public discourse on a multitude of topics both global and local. These findings underscore the need for widespread public access to verified, authentic information in both the traditional press and on social media, in order to promote social stability and governmental integrity and transparency.
On August 26, Global Americans convened a seminar for journalists, academics, and private sector and civil society leaders from across the Western Hemisphere in order to share the project’s findings, discuss the challenges posed to a free press and open societies by disinformation, misinformation, and propaganda, and to establish a knowledge-sharing network at the front lines of identifying, analyzing, and combatting misinformation, disinformation, and propaganda in Latin America and the Caribbean.
Global Americans is proud to serve as a resource to help promote transparency, veracity, and tested, productive strategies to help mitigate the debilitating consequences of misinformation, disinformation, and propaganda. In order to aid journalists, academics, civil society activists, and media consumers writ large, we have compiled a collection of resources to help determine the origins and accuracy of media content so that we all might be better informed and equipped citizens and media consumers.
CADAL (Argentina, Chile, and Peru)
TEC de Monterrey (Mexico)
Universidad del Rosario (Colombia)
Articles on Misinformation, Disinformation, and Propaganda in Latin America and the Caribbean
- Brazil, democracy, and the “fake news” bill (Global Americans)
- Chinese humanitarian aid between disinformation and tons of propaganda (Medianálisis)
- Chinese COVID-19 Vaccine lands in Venezuela (Medianálisis)
- China’s COVID-19 Diplomacy: A Game Changer (Medianálisis)
- Chinese COVID-19 vaccine and Venezuelan military propaganda (Medianálisis)
- China and its great firewall for censorship in Venezuela (Medianálisis)
- Cuba in Venezuela: Propaganda deep inside the inner city (Medianálisis)
- The ‘declassified’ buildup of a disinformation campaign exposed (Medianálisis)
- Democracia al estilo chino (CADAL; Global Americans)
- Disinformation and opacity surround Chinese humanitarian aid (Medianálisis)
- Disinformation, bubbles, polarization and democracy (Medianálisis)
- Disinformation in Venezuela: Chavismo saturated Twitter (Medianálisis; Global Americans)
- Disinformation in Venezuela: China reinvents its model in response to COVID-19 (Medianálisis)
- Disinformation in Venezuela: The Russian factor (Medianálisis)
- Disinformation on “dark voyages”: Venezuelan oil exports to China (Medianálisis)
- EpiVacCorona: Another Exercise in Disinformation and Propaganda (Medianálisis)
- K-pop y paro nacional: transparencia sí, pero no así (El Espectador; Global Americans)
- Lo que esconde la vacuna china (Infobae)
- Lo que Perú debe saber de la vacuna china (LaMula)
- Malicious intent: the Bolivarian troupe in the Colombian protests (Medianálisis)
- Partisan military propaganda takes Twitter hostage (Medianálisis)
- Protests in Colombia: Venezuela and Russia in the Crosshairs (Medianálisis)
- Repúblicos: The Venezuelan Alt-Right making its voice heard on the Net (Medianálisis)
- Russian Vaccine: The Matryoshka of disinformation (Medianálisis)
- The Russification of Venezuela (Medianálisis)
- Side effects of disinformation (Medianálisis)
- Sputnik Vac: A Prick of Disinformation (Medianálisis)
- Sputnik V: Disinformation dosed drop by drop (Medianálisis)
- Sputnik V in Latin America (Medianálisis)
- Unfortunate Miracles (Medianálisis)
- UN Report: A New Enemy, Coverage, and Disinformation on Regime-Aligned Media (Medianálisis)
- The Vaccine Diplomacy (Medianálisis)
Resources for Identifying, Understanding, and Counteracting Disinformation:
A 2019 report that outlines the process of “source hacking,” and details how those actors engaged in actively manipulating the media can target journalists and other public figures, encouraging the further spread of misinformation and disinformation.
An overview of the European Commission’s strategies to combat the spread of misinformation and disinformation, including approaches described in models such as the European Union’s Code of Practice on Disinformation, the European Digital Media Observatory, and the European Democracy Action Plan.
A handbook produced out of a 2017 conference hosted by the University of Pennsylvania’s Annenberg School for Communication, entitled “Understanding and Addressing the Disinformation Ecosystem.”
Research from one of the United Kingdom’s leading research universities that endeavors to explain why people around the world are susceptible to misinformation, especially in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic. This site also provides information on the impact of misinformation and disinformation in the context of COVID-19 and how governments and citizens might proactively combat the further dissemination of misleading information in the context of future public health crises.
A database, curated and maintained by the Rand Corporation, that hosts a total of 90 online resources designed to help individuals build their skills at identifying instances of misinformation, disinformation, and propaganda through a combination of readings, tools, and evaluations for a variety of written and visual media content.
An online resource, created and maintained by one of the world’s leading news agencies, that explains how media can be manipulated by malign actors, the threats posed by synthetic media content, and what citizens and governments can do to combat falsified information.
A collection of graphics outlining different strategies used by malign actors to spread misinformation and disinformation.
Two research studies, published in 2021 by UNESCO Montevideo, intended to provide regional analyses of instances of disinformation and hate speech in Latin America over the course of the COVID-19 pandemic.
A summary of the World Health Organization’s (WHO) first “infodemiology” conference, held in 2020. The purpose of the conference was to discuss the “formation of a trans-disciplinary science that will underpin infodemic management and inform evidence-based infodemic management interventions.” The WHO defines an infodemic as “too much information including false or misleading information in digital and physical environments during a disease outbreak.”
Curricula and Trainings
An online library of training content including courses, toolkits, and other resources designed for public use and to assist journalists and citizens in improving their abilities to identify instances of misinformation, disinformation, and propaganda. This site includes various challenges, guides, and self-evaluations.
An online media literacy training, entitled “Learn to Discern,” designed to help trainees “develop healthy habits for engaging with information, online and offline.”
A resource center organized and curated by the nonprofit Poynter Institute for Media Studies that includes online education tools and courses designed to help users build their knowledge and skills in identifying misinformation and learn to carry out their own fact-checking processes.
A nonprofit organization that shares information and resources, designed specifically for educators, to produce better-informed citizens capable of evaluating information with the ability to distinguish facts from skewed and biased content. They provide a variety of online tools, including a quiz to help site visitors determine whether a given social media post is authentic and credible or false and misleading.
A machine learning algorithm that evaluates the likelihood of a Twitter account being run by a human or by a bot. (A bot can be understood as a social media account that is at least partially operated by a software program, rather than by a human individual or group.) The Botometer algorithm gathers data from the Twitter Application Programming Interface (API) for the account in question and generates a score, with lower scores indicating a higher likelihood that a given account is human-operated.
A collaboration between fact-checking organizations such as the Poynter Institute and Spanish-language news broadcasters in order to combat misinformation and disinformation, originally designed for use during elections. This tool is notable for its emphasis on WhatsApp—a communications and media platform that is ubiquitous throughout Latin America and the Caribbean, the Latin American and Caribbean diaspora in the U.S., and Spanish-speaking communities in the U.S.—and its focus on promoting the dissemination of accurate information in the U.S. and Latin America.
An information visualization tool that allows the user to see how a given topic can spread on Twitter. This tool tracks how posts or stories shared respectively by low-credibility sources or by independent fact-checking organizations fare on the popular social media platform.
A fact-checking website that evaluates the information contained within a given post and places it within a range of verifiability (i.e., “No Evidence,” or “Missing Information”).
A library database containing various resources related to misinformation and disinformation, including scholarly articles, research studies, media publications, infographics, and trainings.
A website that allows users to upload written and visual content in order to receive its metadata. This metadata can enable users to access to more detailed information about the substance and origin of content produced by traditional and social media.
A database of over 3,000 media sources and journalists. Users can search organizations or individuals to receive information regarding the ways in which a given source might be biased, including levels of bias and degrees of factual reporting, with the highest ranking being “Very High,” and the lowest being “Very Low.”
A fact-checking website that verifies publications and posts that have been identified as containing or consisting of possibly questionable claims. It tags relevant items as being either “True” or “False”; or, in cases when there are different degrees of accuracy contained within a single post, “Mixture.”
A website that aids users in fact-checking information that they have encountered via social media and email. The Truth or Fiction research team will investigate the origins of a given piece to determine the accuracy, or lack thereof, of the information contained within.
A United Nations (UN) initiative launched in an effort to support and promote the dissemination of factual, critical information regarding the COVID-19 pandemic and related topics. As such, the Verified website is a source that produces and shares COVID-19-related content based on the latest updates from the UN, the World Health Organization (WHO), and other UN agencies.
An image verification tool that allows users to upload images to determine how they might have been manipulated, in order to determine if the way in which such images are being shared is accurate and authentic.
An image search tool that allows users to upload images and conduct a reverse image search, enabling the user to see where the image appears on online and determine if it is being portrayed and used appropriately in the media.
Resources for Journalists
An automated fact-checking system available to the public. This Artificial Intelligence (AI) system is designed to automatically identify claims that are worthy of verification, then monitor the behavior of the claim and fact-check its content. Through this tool, users can register and request to track specific social media accounts.
The Columbia School of Journalism in Latin America offers several courses on investigative journalism, including an especially relevant module entitled, “How is investigative journalism changing to respond to populism, propaganda, and disinformation?”
The latest edition of the verification handbook, with a specific focus on disinformation and media manipulation. DataJournalism, the second handbook of its kind, was published by the European Journalism Centre with the goal of equipping journalists with the proper knowledge and tools to examine the information they receive and the sources from which they receive that information, in order to mitigate the spreading of misinformation, disinformation, and fake news.
A database designed for journalists to find information on resources for their work, including grants and fellowships, trainings, and contacts. The toolkits, tips, and trainings provided on this website are designed to help equip journalists to be as effective and accurate as possible in their work.
A collection of online courses designed to aid journalists in addressing topics pertaining to digital journalism, verification, investigative journalism, and more. This website also provides a collection of handbooks related to journalistic practices and regional challenges for reporters and researchers.
A handbook designed for journalists in order to further their knowledge regarding how to identify misinformation and fake news, developed by the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).