“All the people who arrive by boat will have the right to collect the rent” or “a monthly payment of 664 euros is offered to any foreigner under 23 who arrives in our country and does not have a job.” These messages, both denied by Maldita.es, have been disseminated in recent years stating that immigrants have privileges over Spaniards to obtain social assistance. According to the Barometer of Disinformation and Hate Speeches in front of the migrant, we now know that these disinformations permeate citizens and there is a correlation between a greater diffusion of hate narratives and their credibility.
Ten hoaxes and misinformation about the arrival of migrants to Ceuta
Among the hate narratives that generate greater credibility, the one that affirms that immigrants do not want to integrate (34%) stands out, followed by the one that maintains that the State gives favorable treatment to immigrants (32%) and the one that points to immigrants. Unaccompanied foreign minors as a danger (32%). These percentages are even higher in people over 66 years of age, who give greater veracity to hate narratives against immigrants.
In this survey in which information consumption and disinformation habits are analyzed in Spain, a nationwide survey proves for the first time that hate speech disseminated through disinformation has made that of the privileges of immigrants about Spaniards is the hate narrative that most people claim to have heard, followed by the one that ensures that immigrants do not integrate and reject Spanish culture. Third is the link between migrants and robberies, violence and sexual crimes.
The most listened to narrative
“A monthly payment of 664 euros is offered to any foreigner under 23 years of age who arrives in our country and does not have a job.” With this and other false messages, it has been affirmed that the legislation of some administrations “discriminates against nationals” and an attempt has been made to reinforce the false idea that immigrants have privileges in accessing social benefits. Such is the scope of these messages that 84% of the population claims to have heard it at some time. Not only is it the most listened to hate narrative, it is also the second most veracity of the Spanish: 32% of the population believes this to be true.
These hoaxes are circulated again from time to time with the approval of social benefits, as happened with the Minimum Vital Income. They are also promoted during the electoral season, as was the case in the Madrid elections on May 4. However, these are not statements that are supported by data: neither do immigrants have privileges to access the Minimum Vital Income due to the fact of being migrants, nor are there exclusive benefits due to the fact of belonging to this group.
One in three Spaniards thinks that unaccompanied foreign minors are a danger
More than 82% of the population has ever heard that unaccompanied foreign minors are a dangerous group with a tendency to violence and 32% believe that this statement is true, which is almost one in three Spaniards. This narrative is often reinforced by messages such as “an ore gouges out the eyes of a hotel worker in Cambrils”, broadcast on the website Mediterráneo Digital. However, it was a hoax. The message refers to an event that occurred in the Tarragona municipality of Cambrils on July 5 in which a minor attacked a worker at the Hotel Estival El Dorado.
However, no unaccompanied foreign minor was implicated in this attack. From Mossos d’Esquadra they affirmed that the aggressor was staying at the hotel with his mother and the Cambrils City Council, on which the Local Police of this municipality depends, affirmed that the minor “was not an unaccompanied foreign minor” and that he was Spanish . Also in the body of the content of Mediterráneo Digital, which is extracted from a news item from the EFE Agency, it is indicated that the minor aggressor was staying with his mother in the hotel and it is not stated at any time that the minor was a foreigner.
But it is not the only migrant group that hoaxes link to violence: 82% of the population has ever heard that immigrants are more likely to participate in robberies, violent events or sexual crimes. 27% of Spanish society think this statement is true. “Hundreds of Moroccans stealing cars on the streets of Ceuta” or “illegal immigrants stealing cars in the port area” are some of the messages that have been used to link immigration with violence.
Both were hoaxes disseminated through social networks after the entry of thousands of immigrants through the Ceuta border with Morocco last May, a social crisis about which Maldita.es denied 23 hoaxes, most of which warned of alleged assaults or criminal acts.
Opinion on immigration that determines the vote
According to the data extracted in this survey, 22% of the Spanish population is against immigration and 23% of the population is open to a change in their opinion about immigration, with a high degree of agreement with issues related to the resolution of problems in the country of origin, the scarcity of resources in Spain. In addition, 28% say that their opinion on immigration determines the direction of their vote.
In this sense, 23% of the population is open to a change in their opinion about immigration, with a high degree of agreement with issues related to solving problems in the country of origin, the scarcity of resources in Spain.
This survey not only allows us to analyze the relationship of Spanish citizens with the misinformation used with the aim of spreading hatred towards migrants, but also allows us to know the evaluations that people make of themselves about their levels of racism and that of society. And the analysis allows us to conclude that the vast majority of the Spanish population identifies as “not at all or a little racist.” People consider themselves much less racist than the society in which they live.
To consult the study enter this link.
To consult the survey methodology, enter this link.
* This article is part of Maldita Migración, a Maldita.es project in collaboration with eldiario.es and with the support of Oxfam Intermón.