New social media survey gives insight on best platforms to reach Hispanic and Latino voters
Research on social media usage shows where to invest for Hispanic and Latino voter engagement, and where to fight misinformation.
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Misinformation on Spanish-language social media pages has been thriving for years because of a lack of investment and initiative to moderate these platforms on the same scale as English-language content.
Even English-language platforms and content have come under fire for their lack of moderation on far-right posts and their fueling of an “infodemic” that, especially during a global pandemic, has effectively cost lives by spreading Covid-19 vaccine disinformation, adding to the hesitancy that is already prevalent among Black and Latinx demographics.
It’s the reason why the CEOs of three of the most influential tech companies, Facebook, Google, and Twitter appeared before members of Congress on March 25 to discuss the role unmoderated content played in the Jan. 6 breach of the Capitol.
But despite these statements and congressional hearings, the misinformation and disinformation persists, and goes unhindered, especially in Spanish-language content.
A recent report by Pew Research on Social Media Use in 2021 gives more insight into the platforms that Hispanics and Latinos predominantly use.
The data derives from a nationally representative survey of 1,500 U.S. adults conducted via Telephone From mid Jan. 25 to Feb. 8. While not the most in depth study on the demographic, information like this can direct where moderation investment is most dire, and even where to invest for future elections.
It’s this sort of easily attainable data that the Democratic Party didn’t act on in 2020. Instead, it chose more traditional routes, like Spanish-language radio and media giants like Telemundo and Univision.
There’s a misconstrued notion that all Latinos exclusively watch these mainstream Spanish-language stations, when in reality it’s places like YouTube, Whatsapp, Facebook, and even the Google algorithm that do the most in reaching voters and potentially swaying opinions.
As seen in the 2020 election, each of these platforms have the capacity to sway voters when traditional political strategy fails — especially when considering the Latino swing vote.
.@pewresearch Social Media survey is always super interesting— John Anzalone (@JohnAnzo) April 10, 2021
While @Facebook & @YouTube dominate overall, young people & POC use @instagram, @Snapchat & @tiktok_us at high levels. Hispanics prefer @WhatsApp. Women drive @Pinterest. And @LinkedIn $75K+https://t.co/3CHHy1Ajgg pic.twitter.com/7G8PEJ2OTH
The most recent Pew Research Study found that 52% of Hispanic adults and 49% of Black Americans use Instagram, compared to 35% of white Americans, who said the same.
When it came to WhatsApp, 46% of Hispanic adults said they were “far more likely” to use the platform than 23% of Black or 16% of white Americans.
Pinterest is predominantly used by women (46%) compared to male counterparts, who stand at 16%.
This figure is interesting when considering Equis Research’s most recent study — or post-mortem — on the Latino vote in the 2020 election. It found that Latinas notably shifted to vote Republican in the 2020 cycle. With such a large presence of women on the platform, it would have been the perfect platform for targeted ads.
The Pew data may even be helpful in addressing the younger voting brackets. It found that certain sites or apps, “most notably Instagram, Snapchat and Tiktok, that have an especially strong following among young adults,” have an especially strong user base of 18 to 29-year-olds.
But this isn’t the first time Pew has conducted this study. It is up to campaigns to decide whether they will invest in long-term outreach where the Hispanic and Latino demographics really spend their time, or if the last-ditch approach will continue to be the norm.