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On Facebook, fake news reports more than facts

According to a new study, disinformation on Facebook generates much more engagement from internet users than actual news.

The information comes from a new study conducted by researchers at New York University and Grenoble Alpes, and it tends to prove that despite Donald Trump’s banishment, fake news is doing well on social networks. According to the findings reported by the Washington Post, disinformation would cause an engagement rate six times higher on Facebook than real news.

After examining the publications of more than 2,500 press publishers between August 2020 and January 2021, the researchers behind the survey established that the pages that shared the most misinformation were also the ones that received the most likes, shares and comments. Concretely, fake news would thus bring in more engagement – and therefore potential monetization – on the part of Internet users. A trend observed through the entire political prism, but which would tend to increase for pages displaying a sensitivity to the right. The latter would thus “A much higher propensity to share misleading information” than the rest of the editors, thus analyze the Washington Post.

The full study should be published next November, as part of the Internet Measurement Conference. In the meantime, Facebook has let it be known via one of its spokespersons that the survey only focused on engagement (percentage of people who interacted with the post after seeing it), and not on reach (visibility rate ) of the posts in question. The social network indeed claims that content deemed sensitive or potentially misleading is much less highlighted than those from sources “Reliable”. Meanwhile, Mark Zuckerberg’s company recently cut off access to its data to another group of researchers who worked on the transparency of GAFAM.

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