From August 2020 to January 2021, “fake news,” or misinformation, got six times more clicks and likes than trustworthy news sources on Facebook, according to a study.
The peer-reviewed study looked at user behavior on Facebook around the 2020 US election campaign, according to a report by The Washington Post.
The study offers evidence that misinformation widely exists and is widely shared on social media platforms such as Facebook.
According to the report, Facebook has responded by saying that the study measured the number of people who engage – which includes shares and likes – with content, not the number of people that view it.
“This report looks mostly at how people engage with content, which should not be confused with how many people actually see it on Facebook,” The Washington Post quoted Facebook spokesman Joe Osborne as saying.
“When you look at the content that gets the most reach across Facebook, it is not at all like what this study suggests,” he added.
Osborne said that Facebook has fact-checkers who limit posts that include misinformation.
Last month, Facebook’s Q1 Transparency Report was published, and it showed that a news article suggesting a “healthy” doctor had died after receiving the COVID-19 vaccine was Facebook’s top viewed link.
The transparency report examined US content views between January 1, 2021, and March 31, 2021.
Media outlets have reported that Facebook withheld the Q1 report, and the company released it a day after such reports circulated.
We’ve been getting criticism for holding an internal report until it was more favorable for us and then releasing it. Getting criticism isn’t unfair. But it’s worth taking a closer look -- and making note of some of the components of the story.— Andy Stone (@andymstone) August 21, 2021
“News outlets wrote about the south Florida doctor that died. When the coroner released a cause of death, the Chicago Tribune appended an update to its original story; NYTimes did not. Would it have been right to remove the Times story because it was COVID misinfo?” Facebook’s Policy Communications Manager, Andy Stone, said in response to critics.