At the beginning of Russia’s war in Ukraine, Facebook, Twitter, and major social media platforms blocked or limited the reach of Russian state media in the West, and created a patchwork of restrictions across the globe. As a result, Russian propaganda and disinformation justifying Putin’s invasion of Ukraine has reached audiences in Latin America and the Middle East, undermining US- and European-led efforts to unify the world in ending the unjustified, brutal conflict.
Bret Schafer, a senior fellow at the Alliance for Securing Democracy, said the Spanish and Arabic branches of Russian state media were the country’s most influential on Facebook and Twitter. RT en Español, Sputnik Mundo and RT Play en Español have been among the 10 most-viewed pages on Facebook in Latin America, with tens of millions of viewers.
“If you speak to people in Latin America, RT is viewed as just another media outlet to be read and trusted,” he said. “It is hugely influential.”