Study Finds Misinformation on Facebook Six Times More Popular Than Factual News

A new study finds that news sources known for spreading misinformation received six times the amount of likes, shares and interaction on Facebook than posts by traditional news outlets.

What happened: The findings come from a study from New York University and the Université Grenoble Alpes in France looking at data from August 2020 to January 2021. Experts say the study validates the criticism that Facebook’s platform rewards publishers that put out misleading information, according to the Washington Post.

Facebook has responded to the report, pointing out the study measured the number of people who engage with content, but did not measure the number of people that actually viewed it. The company uses the term “impressions” for views, and does not make the data publicly available.

"When you look at the content that gets the most reach across Facebook, it is not at all like what this study suggests,” Facebook spokesperson Joe Osborne responded.

Why It’s Important: In August, Facebook banned the personal accounts of the researchers involved in the study, citing that they were violating its term of service by collecting user data without permission.

Facebook’s critics have accused the company of allowing misleading, inflammatory content on the platform simply because it generates more attention and clicks than mainstream news. In response, Facebook released a “transparency report” in August that revealed the most-viewed posts on the platform during the second quarter of the year, from April to June.''

Related Link: Facebook's Latest Stance On Politics

Photo: Courtsey of Unsplash

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