Misinformation on Facebook is three times more popular than it was during the 2016 election, according to new research



Mark Zuckerberg wearing a suit and tie: Facebook co-founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg testifies before the House Financial Services Committee in the Rayburn House Office Building on Capitol Hill October 23, 2019 in Washington, DC. Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images


© Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images
Facebook co-founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg testifies before the House Financial Services Committee in the Rayburn House Office Building on Capitol Hill October 23, 2019 in Washington, DC. Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

  • 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.

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The total number of user interactions

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Why Trump’s viral Covid and flu misinformation is hard for Facebook and Twitter to stop

A perfect storm of medical misinformation and political disinformation is creating new challenges for the press, for social media platforms and for the public. Take just the events of the last few days. On the heels of his release from Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, President Donald Trump stood on the balcony of the White House, removed his mask and then gave a short speech that was quickly uploaded to social media. “Maybe I’m immune, I don’t know,” he declared. The truth is, he is still very contagious. But the public declaration alarmed scientists, who are working to produce an effective and safe vaccine. Online, fans cheered that Trump had beaten Covid-19, even as he put his staff in danger.

A perfect storm of medical misinformation and political disinformation is creating new challenges for the press, for social media platforms, and for the public.

Trump followed up that appearance

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Expert discusses the importance of getting wise to misinformation, conspiracy theories

conspiracy
Credit: Pixabay/CC0 Public Domain

Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, technology has opened gateways—allowing for people to continue learning and remain connected. But it’s also allowed for the steady flow of disinformation, misinformation and conspiracy theories.


From Facebook to Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat—social media is always at our fingertips. Slanted views can spread like wildfire on those platforms, despite efforts to stop it.

Jenny Rice, an associate professor in the Department of Writing, Rhetoric, and Digital Studies in the University of Kentucky College of Arts and Sciences, is an expert on conspiracy theories. In her book, “Awful Archives: Conspiracy Theory, Rhetoric, and Acts of Evidence,” she looks to examples that lie at the fringes of public discourse—pseudoscience, the paranormal, conspiracy theories about 9/11, the moon landing, UFO sightings and Obama’s birth record. Such examples, she argues, bring to light other questions about evidence that force us to reassess and move beyond traditional

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Facebook, Twitter block Trump post for spreading COVID-19 misinformation

Facebook
and Twitter
on Tuesday both took action against a post from President Donald Trump that falsely suggested the seasonal flu was more deadly than COVID-19. Facebook removed the post, while Twitter hid the post behind a warning message that says it violated the site’s rules “about spreading misleading and potentially harmful information related to COVID-19.” Twitter said the tweet was in the public’s interest, so it’ll remain accessible but engagements will be limited.

Facebook and Twitter both have rules against coronavirus
misinformation that could lead to harm, such as claiming a certain group is immune or promoting drinking bleach as a cure, which can be deadly. Facebook has been under fire for not sending posts from politicians to fact-checkers. Politicians, though, aren’t exempted from the social network’s rules against coronavirus misinformation.

“We remove incorrect information about the severity of COVID-19, and have now removed this post,” a Facebook spokeswoman

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Twitter’s ‘Birdwatch’ looks like a new attempt to root out propaganda and misinformation

Twitter has confirmed it’s working on a new feature, currently dubbed “Birdwatch,” that could let the Twitter community warn one another about misleading tweets that could cause harm.

There’s an awful lot we don’t know about the idea, including whether Twitter will actually release it to the public or how it might work in its final form, but enough has leaked out that we do have a pretty fair glimpse at the feature — which, we understand, is still early in development and would not be released ahead of the US election.

As TechCrunch notes, the existence of such a tool was first discovered by Jane Manchun Wong, who often digs through app code for evidence of unreleased features, back in August. At a basic level, the idea is that you’ll be able to attach a note to a misleading tweet:

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Misinformation spikes after Trump reveals he has COVID-19

By Amanda Seitz and Beatrice Dupuy | Associated Press

CHICAGO — News Friday that President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump had tested positive for COVID-19 sparked an explosion of rumors, misinformation and conspiracy theories that in a matter of hours littered the social media feeds of many Americans.

Tweets shared thousands of times claimed Democrats might have somehow intentionally infected the president with the coronavirus during the debates. Others speculated in Facebook posts that maybe the president was faking his illness. And the news also ignited constant conjecture among QAnon followers, who peddle a baseless belief that Trump is a warrior against a secret network of government officials and celebrities that they falsely claim is running a child trafficking ring.

In the final weeks of the presidential campaign, Trump’s COVID-19 diagnosis was swept into an online vortex of coronavirus misinformation and the falsehoods swirling around this polarizing election.

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Misinformation spikes as Trump confirms COVID-19 diagnosis

CHICAGO (AP) — News Friday that President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump had tested positive for COVID-19 sparked an explosion of rumors, misinformation and conspiracy theories that in a matter of hours littered the social media feeds of many Americans.

Tweets shared thousands of times claimed Democrats might have somehow intentionally infected the president with the coronavirus during the debates. Others speculated in Facebook posts that maybe the president was faking his illness. And the news also ignited constant conjecture among QAnon followers, who peddle a baseless belief that Trump is a warrior against a secret network of government officials and celebrities that they falsely claim is running a child trafficking ring.

In the final weeks of the presidential campaign, Trump’s COVID-19 diagnosis was swept into an online vortex of coronavirus misinformation and the falsehoods swirling around this polarizing election. Trump himself has driven much of that confusion

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The Technology 202: Trump’s coronavirus diagnosis sparks onslaught of online misinformation

“It’s as if a nuclear information bomb exploded on social media,” says Watts, a longtime researcher of influence operations, who is already starting to track and log various conspiracy theories related to the news. 

“Make no mistake — regardless of your politics — the President and first lady contracting covid-19 is a significant national crisis compounding on the pandemic that has taken over 200,000 Americans,” said Graham Brookie, the director and managing editor of the Atlantic Council’s Digital Forensic Lab. “We’re going to see a lot misinformation — and disinformation — about this in the coming days and weeks.” 

Trump’s coronavirus diagnosis could be an ideal target for foreign adversaries seeking to sow discord among the American public. 

“Any time the President of the United States is at risk is an opportunity to foreign adversaries,” Brookie told me. “It’s why the United States has contingency and continuity plans in place

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President Trump is the “single largest driver” of coronavirus misinformation in the world: study

Donald Trump
Donald Trump

U.S. President Donald Trump reacts to a question during a news conference in the Briefing Room of the White House on September 27, 2020 in Washington, DC. Joshua Roberts/Getty Images

President Donald Trump is responsible for nearly 38% of coronavirus misinformation in traditional media around the world, according to a new study by researchers at Cornell University.

The study looked at what the World Health Organization has termed the “infodemic” of misinformation about the new coronavirus across 38 million traditional media articles published between Jan. 1 and May 26 in English-language media around the world.

“We found that media mentions of U.S. President Donald Trump within the context of COVID-19 misinformation made up by far the largest share of the infodemic,” the study said, noting that Trump mentions comprised 37.9% of the overall misinformation conversation.

“The biggest surprise was that the president of the United States was the

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