Facebook has emerged as a major source of news consumption in recent years.(Representative photo/Reuters)
Facebook has emerged as a major source of news consumption in recent years.(Representative photo/Reuters)

Far-right misinformation has more engagement on Facebook: Research

The researchers from New York University based their study on Facebook's CrowdTangle tool and obtained list of pages and public posts from independent data providers and fact-checking websites.
By hindustantimes.com | Edited by Amit Chaturvedi
UPDATED ON MAR 03, 2021 08:49 PM IST

Facebook has emerged as a major source of news consumption in recent years. Since it's launch in 2004, the social media platform has evolved from a simply image sharing and status updating website to go-to point for millennials.

The website has seen a lot of user engagement and heated debates over issues which are politically relevant and concern with the lives of the people. And in recent times, Facebook has to deal with misinformation problem.

As outrage over the issue grew, the company deployed a series of checks and balances to counter the misinformation campaign. Some of these include labelling of the false claims and reduced visibility in users' feed.

But when it comes to political ideology, there is an interesting trend which has been highlighted by the researchers at New York University (NYU) in a recent survey.

The researchers identified that accounts which have been labelled far-right by rating agencies generate more engagement - likes, shares and other forms - than any other partisan group. The study also said that far-right misinformation had on average 65 per cent more engagement per follower.

This was followed by pages for far-Left publications and then then closer to the centre of the political spectrum.

The study has been conducted by Laura Edelson and Ian Goldstein, PhD candidates at NYU, and Minh-Kha Nguyen, a PhD student at Grenoble Alpes University.

The researchers based their study on Facebook's CrowdTangle tool and obtained list of pages and public posts from independent data providers and fact-checking websites. Among other criteria, the researchers looked pages with more than 100 followers.

The timeframe chosen by the researchers was August 10, 2020 to January 11, 2021. At least 8.6 million pages were downloaded by the researchers to arrive at conclusion, the team said.

They also said that content from websites rated as "extreme" garnered more engagement.

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