Social media companies have been fighting online misinformation and hate speech since the US 2016 Presidential election. With the US midterm elections just a few days away, they’re making some headway, although they’re still a long way from winning the war.
The effort risks running into political headwinds that Facebook, Twitter and Google find bad for business. Some critics argue that the social networks are easy to flood with disinformation by design. That, they say, is an unintended consequence of their eagerness to cater to advertisers by categorizing the interests of their users.
Research out of New York University and Stanford, for instance, finds that user interactions with fake news on Facebook have fallen substantially since the end of 2016. On Twitter, however, the sharing of such stories has continued to rise.