What is the LISTOS Act from Reps. Tony Cárdenas, Darren Soto? A new effort to curb non-English disinformation on social media
The bill would require social media platforms to communicate and enforce disinformation policies across more than just English.
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Representative Tony Cárdenas — the first Latino elected to represent the San Fernando Valley in Congress — introduced a bill co-sponsored by a group of several prominent Latino lawmakers on Capitol Hill that would hold social media platforms accountable for dis- and misinformation, and address the needs of tens of millions of non-English speakers.
“Time and again, social media platforms have repeatedly fallen short of moderating multilingual content. Disinformation is a danger to the non-English speaking community and must be taken seriously to protect our country and our democracy,” a statement from Cárdenas’ office read.
The LISTOS Act of 2023, or H.R.3806, would require platforms to communicate and enforce their policies using all languages, as well as require them to report on the processes used to enforce said policies as a way of combating misinformation that disproportionately hurts large non-English speaking communities.
“I'm proud to introduce the LISTOS Act to require platforms to consistently communicate and enforce their policies across languages and transparently report on the processes used to enforce policies. If we want to seriously address the problem of disinformation, then we must make the necessary investments to curb its spread and this bill does just that,” Cárdenas added.
The new bill was referred to the Committee on Energy and Commerce — a committee on which he sits — and the Committee on Foreign Affairs to be determined by the Speaker for consideration.
Other co-sponsors include Rep. Nanette Diaz Barragan (CA-44), Rep. Jim Costa (D-CA-21), Rep. Adriano Espaillat (NY-13), Rep. Juan Vargas (CA-52), Rep. Jesus G. "Chuy" Garcia (IL-4), and Rep. Joaquin Castro (TX-20).
Misinformation in non-English languages has been an issue going back to the 2020 Presidential election.
In 2022, the Congressional Hispanic Caucus — on which Cárdenas and several of LISTOS co-sponsors sit — were pushing for Meta, TikTok, YouTube and Twitter for meetings with their top executives to discuss the spread of misinformation in Spanish specifically on YouTube, TikTok and Twitter.
While multilingual fact checkers exist, the amount of false information created and circulated nearly hourly makes it tough to keep up with the millions of pieces of misinformation on the web.
As a result, the large social media corporations have been called on to take multilingual misinformation just as seriously as they do misinformation in English.
Language accessibility is an important aspect of Cárdenas’ work, who was born to Mexican immigrant parents who immigrated to California from Jalisco, Mexico.
Cárdenas has served as the Congressman for California's 29th congressional district since 2013.
His career first began serving on the California State Assembly for three consecutive terms where he also chaired the budget committee and became a member of the Los Angeles City Council, serving three-terms representing the Sixth Council District.
“It’s past time that we hold social media platforms accountable for the disinformation of multilingual content & the harm it causes minority communities,” Cárdenas said in a tweet.
“I am proud to partner with Rep. Darren Soto to protect our communities as we make social media platforms a more inclusive space.”