U.S. group says misinformation on the rise on Facebook

Most of the false news sources were individual users or non-official political pages

An advocacy group tracking misinformation says it has found an increase in fake political news shared on Facebook ahead of the 2020 presidential elections.

The group, Avaaz, said Wednesday that it found that viral misinformation is still being spread on the social network despite measures Facebook has put in place since the 2016 elections. The researchers tracked the 100 most widely shared false news stories between Jan. 1 and Oct. 1 this year. The stories they tracked had all been fact-checked and debunked by Facebook’s third-party fact-checking partners, which include The Associated Press.

The group found that, collectively, the fake stories were posted more than 2.3 million times and had an estimated 158.9 million views, along with 8.9 million likes, comments and shares. The false stories targeted both political parties, though Avaaz says the majority were against Democrats and liberals.

Most of the false news sources were individual users or non-official political pages. Avaaz, a left-leaning online advocacy group, said stories it found spreading even after they were debunked included one falsely claiming that President Donald Trump’s grandfather was a pimp and a tax evader and that his father was a member of the Ku Klux Klan. That story had an estimated 29 million views. Another story falsely claiming that Democratic Rep. Ilhan Omar attended an al-Qaeda training camp had an estimated 770,000 views.

Facebook did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the report late Tuesday.

Avaaz said in the report that the findings are the “tip of the iceberg of disinformation” ahead of the 2020 elections.

ALSO READ: FTC fines Facebook $5B, adds limited oversight on privacy

The Associated Press


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Saanich launches new tool to help residents learn about the budget

Tool launch will coincide with the Mar. 3 budget meeting

Coast Capital Savings in Saanich to re-open after COVID-19 scare

The branch closed ‘out of an abundance of caution’

Petition aims to stop handyDART facility from being built in View Royal

‘Save Craigflower Creek’ has gathered over 1,000 signatures within a week

Nominations for Victoria municipal byelection are in

Victoria will elect one councillor

Oak Bay’s first heritage conservation area is in the books

Councillor excited to see how HCA protects character of The Prospect

Two law enforcement trucks ‘deliberately’ set on fire in northern B.C., RCMP say

Police say they have video evidence of a person in the area of the truck fires

B.C. mother, daughter return home after coronavirus quarantine in Asia

Jensine Morabito and her daughter were on Holland America’s Westerdam but did not catch the virus

Leap Year means we get an extra day in February, so how are you spending it?

People online have a number of suggestions and plans on how they will be spending Saturday

Greta sticker that drew outrage in Alberta not child pornography: RCMP

X-Site Energy Services has denied having anything to do with the stickers

Bald eagle hit by train in northern B.C. has a chance of survival

The raptor has been taken to OWL in the Lower Mainland for recovery

Cheslatta Carrier Nation and Rio Tinto sign a historic agreement

Co-operation crucial to stem dropping Nechako Reservoir level

Stories of sexual assault at B.C. tree planting camps ‘shocking but not surprising:’ advocate

Contractors’ association is working with trainers to create respectful culture

Lawyer gets house arrest for possessing child porn

Maple Ridge resident gets nine-month term

Most Read