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The global control narrative suggests that a select group of elites or establishments exert disproportionate influence over world events and systems. In digital spaces, this narrative and the many false and misleading claims that underpin it often simplify complex global events, casting them in a light where a few control many. In countries with long histories of corruption, the global control narrative can resonate, exacerbate distrust and fuel the spread of false or misleading information online. This narrative is bolstered by emotive language, compelling slogans, and selective information, often sidelining comprehensive analysis and critical thinking. The global control narrative can intensify divisive topics, presenting them in stark contrasts, and often marginalizing moderate perspectives. This narrative can lead to the vilification of certain groups or institutions, sometimes based on generalized or even false claims. Such narratives can also fuel conspiracy theories. This narrative strongly asserts that the general population cannot trust global elites, influential politicians, multinational corporations, and major media outlets, believing that they suppress any information that doesn’t serve their agenda. 

Why Do These Narratives Matter?

As one of the fastest-growing demographics, U.S. Latinos often find themselves at the center of global control narratives. Such narratives can sometimes paint communities with a broad brush, emphasizing stereotypes and perpetuating misconceptions about their cultural, economic, and social contributions. For instance, global control narratives might oversimplify the complex issue of immigration by portraying global elites as forcing “open border” policies to dilute the native-born U.S. population and thus painting Latino immigrants as threats to jobs, security, or cultural identity, neglecting their significant contributions to the economy and the rich cultural tapestry of the nation. This narrative matters because it creates distrust between social groups, and also foments unfounded suspicions about democratic institutions, the media, and government.

Where and How Are These Narratives Spreading?

Our narrative analysis research shows the global control narrative permeates various social media platforms not only in the U.S., but across the Americas. This narrative is multifaceted, with one prominent recent strand suggesting that a shadowy global elite is suppressing elements such as traditional ideas and population growth. These narratives suggest that international political and economic institutions, such as the United Nations and the World Economic Forum, in conjunction with private meetings such as the Bilderberg Meetings, work together to further the goal of controlling society through malign policies.

One frequent target is the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals, which are embedded in its 2030 Agenda. Partisan actors often use false narratives to portray international institutions as plotting with large industries to deceive people and harm their health. This is evidenced by Spanish-language disinformation narratives during the pandemic which exposed Latinos in the United States to false narratives about the vaccine and government collusion with pharmaceutical companies as part of an elite “plandemic” plot to deceive ordinary citizens.

The QAnon conspiracy theory that falsely alleges that a secret cabal of elites is involved in global child trafficking also fits into the larger global control narrative. Proponents of this false theory believe that elites extract a chemical called adrenochrome from the blood of kidnapped children. This narrative has recently found a cinematic echo in the film 'Sound of Freedom', which delves into child sex trafficking. While the movie aims to spotlight a grave issue, its portrayal has been accused of catering to QAnon's base, especially given the vocal support from its lead, Jim Caviezel, an outspoken QAnon advocate. The film's resonance in Latino communities, both in the U.S. and Latin America, is particularly significant. Produced by right-wing Latino influencer Eduardo Verástegui and directed by Alejandro Monteverde, 'Sound of Freedom' has been amplified in Latino spaces online, especially among religious and evangelical groups.

Considerations for the Future 

As we approach 2024 elections in over 50 countries, disinformation about international institutions and global control narratives, especially in U.S. Latino and Latin American online spaces, are likely to continue to proliferate. These narratives may continue to focus on the alleged suppression of truths by global elites, the portrayal of international institutions as having hidden agendas, the demonization of mainstream media as being in cahoots with powerful elites, and the promotion of conspiracy theories such as the "plandemic". 

Be cognizant not to amplify fringe disinformation - Fact-checkers, the media, and civil society working on information integrity issues must carefully assess the spread of such narratives and recognize that global control conspiracies are often appearing mainly in fringe spaces and should not always be amplified, even in counter-efforts. A useful measure for assessing the spread of specific claims as part of larger narratives is Ben Nimmo’s Break-Out Scale

Better understand how believers of conspiracies can influence less believing individuals and groups online - Further research should focus on when and how these narratives move behavior, not only belief, and how systemic factors, including peer-to-peer influence and group influence can help mainstream such false assertions. 

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