Misinformation on Facebook gets 6x more clicks than factual news

Hannah Mitchell -

Misinformation on Facebook received six times the number of likes, shares and interactions on the platform than factual news organizations, according to a study by New York City-based New York University and the Université Grenoble Alpes in France, The Washington Post reported Sept. 3.

The study looked at posts from news publishers known to put out misinformation and trustworthy news sources, such as the World Health Organization or CNN. They examined Facebook posts from August 2020 to January 2021

The researchers found that the "misinformation boost" affected both political parties. The study also found that Republican-leaning news publishers were more likely to share misleading information than publishers in other political categories.

Facebook responded to the study's findings and said that the report measured the number of people who engaged with the posts but not the number of people who viewed the post, called impressions. Facebook does make information available to researchers about impressions, the Post reported.

"This report looks mostly at how people engage with content, which should not be confused with how many people actually see it on Facebook," said Joe Osborne, a spokesperson for Facebook. "When you look at the content that gets the most reach across Facebook, it is not at all like what this study suggests."

Mr. Osborne said that the company has 80 fact-checking partners who examine posts in more than 60 languages and work to label and reduce the distribution of false information.

President Joe Biden called out social media platforms such as Facebook for allowing COVID-19 vaccine misinformation to spread on its services, which he claimed has resulted in the deaths of Americans.

When asked at a July press conference what his message to platforms like Facebook regarding COVID-19 disinformation was, President Biden said: "I mean they really, look, the only pandemic we have is among the unvaccinated, and that's — they're killing people." 


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