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Ethnic media—media produced by and for an ethnic group—plays an especially pivotal role for immigrant acculturation and integration.
The cumulative evidence from the research literature suggests that ethnic media is crucial in introducing immigrants to social norms and political knowledge in their host society, while also helping immigrants to maintain connections with, and consolidate, their ethnic identity and community..
Headlines such as these, some conspiratorial and emotionally charged and other verifiably false, have become a rampant and well-recognized feature of today’s information environment.
But instead of the usual habitats for misinformation such as Facebook and Twitter, these examples are translations of articles found on We Chat, the ascendant mobile messaging and content publishing app among immigrant Chinese in the United States.
Their presence begs the question of what kind of misinformation exists in this space, as well as how it is generated and distributed.We Chat has a highly specific issue agenda in its coverage.Compared to English-speaking media and immigrant Chinese media, affirmative action/census data disaggregation and unauthorized immigration are the disproportionate focus of We Chat content, while jobs, the economy, and healthcare received little attention during the period of study.In multiethnic America, overlooking non-English-speaking media in the discussion of misinformation means missing an opportunity to understand how political discourse is constructed for a significant segment of the political constituents, and to build media narratives that are sensitive and inclusive.The added impetus for studying ethnic Chinese media stems from a rise in conservatism among first-generation Chinese.