HC Wake-Up Call: Migrant Caravan Misinformation, 200 Bay Area Priests Accused of Sexual Abuse, & Snapchat Voter Registration

Good morning Her Campus! With a break-neck news cycle, there is no possible way for you to stay on top of every story that comes across your feeds—we’re all only human, after all.

But, life comes at you fast. So grab a cup of coffee and settle in for this quick and dirty guide to stories you might’ve been sleeping on (like, literally. It’s early.)

Misinformation Surrounding the Migrant Caravan

Since the caravan of migrants walking from Central America through Mexico to the US first formed more than a week ago, politicians — namely, President Trump, news outlets, partisan organizations, and more have been discussing the implications of the group. This has resulted in the quick spread of misinformation, as WIRED pointed out on Tuesday: "Journalists are traveling with the caravan, but even their on-the-ground reporting is competing with so much false information out there, and sometimes being co-opted by it, making it difficult to sort fact from fiction."

While sites known to spread conspiracies like InfoWars have contributed to the misinformation surrounding the caravan, Trump and Vice President Pence have too. They claim that "Middle Easterners" are traveling with the migrants, though that hasn't been corroborated. The Trump administration and GOP politicians are likely "hoping to use fears over immigration as a way to get people to turn out to the polls," WIRED reported. Democrats are also using the caravan — along with Trump's harsh immigration policies — as talking points for the upcoming midterm elections.

Here's what's currently known, though: what started as hundreds of people traveling from San Pedro Sula in Honduras toward the US border has since grown to around 7,500 people. According to WIRED, "People walking and hitchhiking know that when—if—they reach the US border, they likely will not be allowed to cross. Their children may be taken from them. They may be arrested and sent back. But they come anyway, fleeing gang violence and poverty."

CNN reported that at this point, it's too soon to know where along the US border the bulk of the caravan will travel. 

200 Bay Area Clergy Members Accused of Sexual Abuse 

A California law firm released a report listing 263 clergy in the San Francisco Bay Area accused of sexual misconduct on Tuesday. According to the Associated Press, Minnesota-based Jeff Anderson & Associates, compiled the list from lawsuits and public websites to "publicize the breadth of the problem." The list is part of a larger report, which accused the Archdiocese of San Francisco and the dioceses of Oakland and San Jose of covering up allegations to protect themselves and the Roman Catholic Church, CNN reported

Just last week, the Diocese of San Jose released its own list of 15 former priests accused of sexual abuse; however, Jeff Anderson & Associates said, "It is believed that the Bay Area dioceses do not make available to the public the full history, knowledge and context of the sexually abusive clerics."

Anderson told the AP that San Jose "has done something that is less than the full truth," and since "made a lot of promises," though he said he's "seen no action and very few disclosures." The Diocese also issued a statement following the release of the new list on Tuesday. "It is heartbreaking to see the list of so many who have betrayed and abused innocent children in these horrific ways in the list released today by Anderson & Associates," the statement said in part. "This will allow us to begin the process of restoring trust that has been painfully eroded by those in positions of leadership and trust by being accountable and transparent for what has happened in the past within the Diocese of San Jose."

Other Bay Area dioceses are reportedly taking action, too.

Snapchat May Have Registered 400,000 People to Vote

According to Snap, the company behind Snapchat, the social media service helped more than 418,000 of its users register to vote in just two weeks. The New York Times reported that much of the activity was in "key battleground states," like Texas, Florida, and Georgia. All users had to do was click a newly added button on their profile page, which took them to TurboVote.org, a nonpartisan voter registration site. There, they answered questions about their voter eligibility, and afterward, they were directed to state and local election boards to officially register. To raise awareness, Snapchat also sent video messages to all users over 18.

"There is no more powerful form of self-expression than the ability to vote," said Jennifer Stout, Snap's global head of public policy. "The numbers we’ve seen have been fantastic and have shown us that our users have been some of the most engaged communities out there."

CNN reported that roughly 57 percent of the people who moved from Snapchat to TurboVote.org were between the ages of 18 and 24.

What to look for...

A Halloween costume, since the holiday is exactly one week away from today.