Will Oremus @WillOremus Oh-REE-mus. Senior writer for OneZero (@ozm) covering platforms, algorithms, privacy, and online speech. Raising Delawareness since 2018. DM for Signal. Dec. 03, 2019 1 min read

In 2016, fake news flooded Facebook. Will that happen again in 2020?

I dove into the research on how well the social network's fact-checking systems are working, and why so much political misinformation is still going viral:  https://onezero.medium.com/how-fake-news-is-still-fooling-facebooks-fact-checking-systems-fa8b0e0255b8 

Recently, a widely cited report suggested fake news may actually be more prevalent on Facebook now than in 2016. I found some problems with that analysis. Most experts say it's a bit harder for blatantly false stories to go viral now than three years ago.  https://onezero.medium.com/how-fake-news-is-still-fooling-facebooks-fact-checking-systems-fa8b0e0255b8 

That's the good news. The bad news is, completely made-up stories are still racking up more than a million shares. Like this one claiming that Pelosi diverted $2.4B from Social Security to pay for the impeachment.  https://onezero.medium.com/how-fake-news-is-still-fooling-facebooks-fact-checking-systems-fa8b0e0255b8 

What's interesting is that FB's fact-checkers *did* catch and debunk the Pelosi story. Yet it fell through the cracks of FB's systems, for complicated and dispiriting reasons. You can still post it today, with no warning and no hint that it's false.  https://onezero.medium.com/how-fake-news-is-still-fooling-facebooks-fact-checking-systems-fa8b0e0255b8 

You will perhaps not be entirely shocked to learn that much of the viral misinformation being shared on Facebook in 2019 targets Democratic women, particularly women of color. Lies about @AOC and @IlhanMN were among the year's most viral, per @Avaaz.  https://onezero.medium.com/how-fake-news-is-still-fooling-facebooks-fact-checking-systems-fa8b0e0255b8 

Facebook's policy of not fact-checking politicians is another loophole. If Trump had posted a link to a false story, it would get a fact check and warning label. But here he put the lie right in his own status update, so FB lets it slide.  https://onezero.medium.com/how-fake-news-is-still-fooling-facebooks-fact-checking-systems-fa8b0e0255b8 

For further reading, the @Avaaz analysis is fascinating even if the conclusion is questionable:  https://avaazimages.avaaz.org/US_2020_report_1105_v04.pdf 

Smart @laurahazardowen post:  https://www.niemanlab.org/2019/11/it-is-still-incredibly-easy-to-share-and-see-known-fake-news-about-politics-on-facebook/ 

An in-depth report from UK fact-checker Full Fact:  https://fullfact.org/media/uploads/tpfc-q1q2-2019.pdf 


You can follow @WillOremus.



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