- Engagement on Facebook posts from misleading websites has spiked by 242 percent from 3Q of 2016 to 3Q of 2020, according to a new report from German Marshall Fund Digital.
- Only 10 outlets, which researchers labeled as “False Content Producers” or “Manipulators,” were responsible for 62% of interactions.
- Facebook in the past has been slammed by civil rights leaders for inadequately handling the spread of misinformation on its platform.
- Facebook’s attempts to moderate misinformation on the platform come into focus ahead of the US presidential election.
- Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.
Engagement from misleading websites on Facebook has tripled since the 2016 US presidential election.
The total number of user interactions with articles from “deceptive outlets” has increased by 242% between the third quarter of 2016 and the third quarter of 2020, according to a study published Monday by the German Marshall Fund Digital, the digital wing of the Washington, DC-based public policy think tank.
Only 10 outlets — out of thousands — received 62% of those interactions, GMF Digital found. The researchers categorized outlets as either “False Content Producers” for sites, including The Federalist, that provide information that’s false, and “Manipulators” for sites, like Breitbart, that present claims that aren’t backed by evidence.
The study concluded that since the third quarter of 2016, the number of articles from False Content Producers jumped by 102 percent and the number of articles from Manipulators increased by 293 percent.
“Disinformation is infecting our democratic discourse at rates that threaten the long-term health of our democracy,” Karen Kornbluh, director of GMF Digital, said in a press release. “A handful of sites masquerading as news outlets are spreading even more outright false and manipulative information than in the period around the 2016 election.”
Earlier this year, the Wall Street Journal reported that
(Reuters) – Facebook Inc and Twitter took action on posts from U.S. President Donald Trump on Tuesday for violating their rules against coronavirus misinformation by suggesting that COVID-19 was just like the flu.
Facebook took the post down but not before it was shared about 26,000 times, data from the company’s metric tool CrowdTangle showed.
“We remove incorrect information about the severity of COVID-19,” a company spokesman told Reuters.
The world’s largest social media company, which exempts politicians from its third-party fact-checking program, has rarely taken action against posts from the Republican U.S. president.
Twitter disabled retweets on a similar tweet from Trump on Tuesday and added a warning label that said it broke its rules on “spreading misleading and potentially harmful information related to COVID-19” but that it might be in the public interest for it to remain accessible.
During the 2019-2020 influenza season, the flu was associated with 22,000 deaths in the United States, according to estimates from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (bit.ly/30ByG1m)
Since the first case of the novel coronavirus was recorded in the United States at the beginning of this year, more than 210,000 people in the country have died of the disease caused by the virus, the world’s highest death toll.
On Monday, Trump told Americans “to get out there” and not fear COVID-19 as he returned to the White House after a three-night stay in a military hospital outside Washington where he was treated for COVID-19.
“Silicon Valley and the mainstream media have consistently