‘Fake news’ flourished on Facebook during US presidential poll

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According to Osborne, Facebook has fact-checkers who limit posts that include misinformation…reports Asian Lite News.

Social media posts that push misinformation, spin, lies, and deceit — otherwise known as “fake news” — generated six times more clicks, likes, shares, and interactions on Facebook compared to traditional news sources between August 2020 to January 2021, according to a study.

The forthcoming peer-reviewed study was jointly conducted by New York University and Université Grenoble Alpes in France as it focused on user behavior on Facebook around the 2020 US presidential election.

The phrase “fake news” took shape in mid-2016 during Donald Trump’s run to the presidency and essentially morphed into an angry political slur during Trump’s first term and his unsuccessful re-election campaign four years later.

Facebook is certainly not the only social media platform to benefit from the exploration of “fake news” as the phrase has quickly become part of America’s lexicon.

“This report looks mostly at how people engage with content, which should not be confused with how many people actually see it on Facebook,” Joe Osborne, company spokesman, said.

“When you look at the content that gets the most reach across Facebook, it is not at all like what this study suggests.”

However, the number of people who actually view a certain post, known as impressions, is not available to researchers or the public.

According to Osborne, Facebook has fact-checkers who limit posts that include misinformation.

In early August, Facebook reportedly shut down the personal accounts of the NYU researchers involved in the study, citing that the group was publishing academic studies about the platform at “the expense of people’s privacy.”

According to experts, however, this study will validate the criticism that Facebook’s algorithms fuel the spread of misinformation and “fake news” over more trustworthy information.

Facebook and other social media companies have recently been attempting to increase their scrutiny over misinformation and disinformation shared on the platforms. In August, Facebook announced it had dismantled 53 accounts and 51 pages sharing misinformation on its site.

The multinational technology company, based in Menlo Park, Calif., was founded in 2004 by Mark Zuckerberg and four other students at Harvard College. Today Zuckerberg serves as the CEO, chairman, and controlling shareholder of Facebook.

“It is clear now that we did not do enough to prevent these tools from being used for harm as well,” Zuckerberg said when he testified before a joint US Senate Committee nearly two years before the 2020 presidential election.

“That goes for fake news, foreign interference in elections, and hate speech, as well as developers and data privacy. We did not take a broad enough view of our responsibility, and that was a big mistake. It was my mistake, and I am sorry. I started Facebook, I run it, and I am responsible for what happens here.”

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