Facebook Posts Peddling Misinformation Receive Six Times The Engagement: Study

APRIL 8, 2018: Phone sitting on laptop with Facebook desktop site reflecting on screen. The social media giant's stock has dipped sharply since the Cambridge Analytica scandal.

Posts on Facebook that peddle misinformation receive six times more likes, shares and interactions than trustworthy news sources.

That’s according to a new study from New York University and the Université Grenoble Alpes in France.

The study looked at posts from the Facebook pages of 2,500 publishers from August 2020 to January 2021.

According to The Washington Post, the report found publishers with right-wing tendencies were more likley to share information that could be considered misleading.

“The study helps add to the growing body of evidence that, despite a variety of mitigation efforts, misinformation has found a comfortable home – and an engaged audience – on Facebook,” the report quoted Rebekah Tromble, Director of The Institute for Data, Democracy and Politics at George Washington University, who reviewed the study’s findings.

The report seems to have caused quite a stir, with Facebook coming out and questioning the metrics used by the researchers.

“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 Facebook spokesman Joe Osborne, according to The Free Press Journal.

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

Some have pointed out that the information Facebook is referring to (views/impressions) is not made available by the tech giant.

Despite the report’s findings, Facebook has been active when it comes to keeping misinformation off the platform.

Facebook’s VP Integrity Guy Rosen recently revealed the tech giant had removed 18 million pieces of content from Facebook and Instagram globally for violating policies on COVID-19-related misinformation and harm since the beginning of the pandemic last year.

Facebook also recently told B&T it had labelled 167 million pieces of false content, and connected over 2 billion people with authoritative information through tools like the COVID Information Centre.




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