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LatAm in Focus: Latin America in the Era of Fake News

People on mobile phones

(AdobeStock)

June 07, 2018

“It’s not that we don’t trust anyone anymore. It’s that we trust those who are like us.” And that's how fake news gets shared. Listen to a new #LatAmFocus podcast w/@luisagarcia
.@luisagarcia: Fake news is less likely to change a voter’s mind but can have an impact on voter mobilization.

Luisa García and Alana Tummino.

Fake news: it’s something we’ve heard plenty about in recent years. But is it really anything new?

“Things haven’t changed that much,” explained Partner and COO of Latin America for Llorente & Cuenca Luisa García at a June 2018 AS/COA Young Professionals of the Americas event. “Fake news has always been around,” she said, citing an example from more than a century ago of Panama smearing Nicaragua as part of its campaign to get the canal built within its own territory.

What has changed is the quantity of information we take in, García told AS/COA’s Alana Tummino, noting that an individual consumes as much news in one day now as a person would have over the course of a lifetime in the Middle Ages, and four times the amount we consumed as recently as 1986. In fact, García explains that we’re experiencing a kind of “infoxication” that is causing people to shut down and alter where they place confidence, noting, “It’s not that we don’t trust anyone anymore. It’s that we trust those who are like us.”

What does this mean during an important election year in Latin America? Bots are less of a concern than misinformation shared by people in our networks, says García. She notes that fake news is less likely to change a voter’s mind but can have an impact on voter mobilization.

Beyond elections, businesses are also feeling the effects of fake news and the need to reshape narratives at a time when citizens are increasingly questioning leaders over peers.


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This podcast was produced by Luisa Leme. Text by Carin Zissis.

The music in this podcast was performed by Hamilton de Holanda at Americas Society in New York. Learn more about upcoming concerts at musicoftheamericas.org.