Political Fakenews 2020 Avaaz

November 8, 2019 by , in Society

One year out from the US 2020 elections, a new Avaaz investigation has uncovered a tsunami of political “fake news” flooding US citizens on Facebook. Politically relevant disinformation was found to have reached over 158 million estimated views, enough to reach every reported registered voter1  in the US at least once. The research team focused on collecting the most viral Facebook posts over a ten-month period, between January 1 and October 31, 2019. 

Our team then analyzed the top 100 fake news stories about US politics still online on the platform, which, collectively, were posted over 2.3 million times. Avaaz only included examples that had already been fact-checked and debunked by reputable US fact-checking organizations at the time of our study. The 2016 US elections raised public awareness of disinformation as one of the most serious threats to healthy public discourse, free and fair elections, and democratic stability worldwide. Top Facebook executives, including Mark Zuckerberg, announced immediate action to reduce the spread of harmful disinformation on the platform. 

However, our investigation shows that Facebook’s measures have largely failed to reduce the spread of viral disinformation on the platform. To the contrary, they might have even allowed it to grow: one year before Election Day, the most viral fake news about US politics were able to reach more users than what was reported from three to six months preceding the 2016 elections. Without immediate and decisive action, we expect the US 2020 elections to be, once again, severely impacted by disinformation.

Team Sociating
Team Sociating, November 8, 2019
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