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Sexist tropes misinformation Mexico elects first female leader

Mexican female presidential candidates face online attacks ahead of historic election, highlighting the impact of misinformation and misogyny.

Mexican citizens in Southern California have a unique opportunity this year to participate in the presidential election in Mexico by voting at local consulates. The upcoming election is historic as it may result in the first female president being elected, a milestone that is cause for celebration for many. However, the lead-up to the election has been marred by a surge of false and misogynistic online claims that blur the lines between fact and fiction.

Both leading candidates are women, and they have been subjected to demeaning attacks on their appearance, credentials, and ability to lead. The front-runner, former Mexico City Mayor Claudia Sheinbaum, has faced false claims about her Jewish background and birthplace, as well as fake audio recordings meant to undermine her campaign. This wave of misinformation highlights the impact of the internet, social media, and AI on spreading false content in democracies worldwide.

The spread of misinformation in Mexico is fueled by growing distrust of the news media, violence from drug cartels, increased social media usage, and a lack of digital literacy. Political leaders also play a role in disseminating disinformation, further complicating the situation. The attacks against female candidates like Sheinbaum and Xóchitl Gálvez often take a personal and gendered nature, reflecting deep-seated cultural attitudes in Mexico.

The prevalence of misinformation in the election has led to instances of con artists using AI deepfake videos to deceive the public for personal gain. Despite efforts by tech companies to combat misinformation, challenges remain in addressing the issue effectively, especially in languages other than English. The election has also been marred by violence, with candidates being targeted by criminal gangs and drug cartels disrupting the electoral process.

Overall, the upcoming presidential election in Mexico is fraught with challenges, from misinformation and misogyny to violence and political unrest. Mexican citizens in Southern California have a crucial role to play in shaping the future of their country by participating in this historic election. It is essential for voters to critically evaluate information, seek out reliable sources, and make informed decisions to ensure a fair and democratic outcome.

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