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EL PASO, Texas (Border Report) – A federal agency has launched a new social media account in Spanish in a heavily Hispanic 17-county area, including El Paso.

The point of the new FBI account is to communicate with non-English speakers through Twitter during public safety emergencies and to share news and information.

“In the global environment we live in, social media is the preferred method of communication for a large number of our population, both young and old,” said Jeffrey R. Downey, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI El Paso Field Office. “It’s the right thing for us to expand our use of social media to more effectively engage the public we serve, including the Spanish-speaking social media users.”

The agency launched the @miFBIElPaso account this week. It follows the launch of @miFBILosAngeles in December 2021 and Houston’s @miFBIHouston account in 2016.

According to the 2020 census, some 850,000 Hispanics live in 17 counties covered by the FBI El Paso Field Office. They include the cities of El Paso (81.5 percent Hispanic), Midland, Odessa, Marfa, Alpine and Fort Stockton.

FBI poster in Spanish shared on social media (courtesy FBI)

The agency uses its Twitter accounts to post wanted fugitives’ photos, arrest and criminal charge information, safety tips and community outreach efforts and events. It also alerts the public against criminal trends such as “virtual kidnappings” in which criminals trick their victims into believing that a loved one is being held against his/her will and will be hurt if a ransom not paid immediately.

Recent posts in the Spanish Twitter account for the FBI’s Los Angeles office warn against human trafficking and money laundering.

The FBI launched its English Twitter account (@FBIElPaso) in 2011 and has nearly 25,000 followers. The account has tweeted some messages in Spanish beginning in 2021.

The FBI maintains 70 social media accounts nationwide.