Ever since the revelations of Facebook use, and abuse, stemming from the 2016 US Presidential Election, The Social Network has been working to improve its systems in order to weed out fake news and make it harder for foreign actors to manipulate audiences through its advanced ad targeting.
In regards to limiting the spread of fake news specifically, Facebook has:
- Added third-party fact-checking on highly shared stories
- Added related post listings which appear alongside questionable stories
- Launched new Page information to provide more insight into who's behind each post
- Published new tips and tools to help users detect and report fake news when they see it
They've put a lot of effort into this area, and according to various studies, they have made progress. But then again, a lot of false information is still slithering through Facebook's network, and reaching a lot of people.
Underlining this, BuzzFeed News recently examined the biggest fake news stories which gained traction on The Social Network in 2018. According to BuzzFeed's report, the top 50 fake news stories on Facebook generated around 22 million total shares, reactions, and comments for the year, which is 7% fewer than the 23.5 million engagements generated by to top 50 Facebook fake posts of 2017, and slightly more than the 21.5 million engagements for fake reports on the platform in 2016.
Clearly, Facebook has got a way to go - they are working to address this, and when you take into account the relative growth in platform usage, they do seem to making progress. But fake reports remain a key issue on the platform, and with so many impressionable users looking for information to support established biases, it is something that needs to be addressed.
BuzzFeed's Top 10 Facebook Fake News Reports of 2018 are listed in the below infographic - did you fall for any of these?
A version of this post was first published on the Digital Information World blog.