According to the latest news, a new peer reviewed study from researchers at New York University and the Université Grenoble Alpes in France has highlighted that misinformation got six times as much engagement on Facebook as real news. The story was first published by The Washington Post.
The study analyzed Facebook page posts of more than 2500 news publishers between August 2020 and January 2021 and found that the pages that post more misinformation regularly got more likes, shares, and comments. Mostly, such misinformation was identified across the political spectrum.
The study notes “publishers on the right have a much higher propensity to share misleading information than publishers in other political categories.” The researchers will share the findings of the study as part of the 2021 Internet Measurement Conference in November but it could be released prior to that.
A Facebook spokesperson pointed out that the study only looks at engagement and not “reach”. Facebook does not make reach data available to researchers so researchers often turn to CrowdTangle, a tool owned by Facebook. This August, Facebook cut off this group of researchers’ access to this data by saying continuing to give third party researchers access to the data could violate a settlement with the Federal Trade Commission that it entered into following the Cambridge Analytica scandal. FTC pointed this rebuttal as “inaccurate”.
In order to combat misinformation, Facebook released a “transparency report” in August that laid out the most viewed posts on the platform during the second quarter of the year from April to June. Within a few days of the release of the so called report, The New York Times revealed that Facebook scrapped plans to release the first quarter report.