Fake news, disinformation … The terms have been repeated for years and complaints about their impact – and how they affect what citizens believe – accumulate. The impact that fake news has had on different political processes has caused them to be considered a problem of scope and has led to increased pressure against social networks.
Facebook is the epicenter of complaints and complaints. Those responsible for the social network have been announcing different measures to stop its viralization, but with little success. There are those who believe, in fact, that they do not do so much, because fake news and content of that style keep the audience hooked on their screens.
Do fake news and those contents really have so much success on social networks? The latest study on the engagement achieved by these publications on Facebook shows that yes: their pull is much higher than that achieved by legitimate content, which is much less successful. Researchers from New York University (NYU) and the Université Grenoble Alpes have analyzed the success of the content published by 2,500 Facebook pages between August 2020 and January 2021.
With the results data obtained by their updates, they compared what happens with the contents of reliable news sources and with the sources of misinformation and fake news. Their conclusions are clear: disinformation pages achieve much more engagement.
Your likes, shares, and engagement data are six times higher. Researchers have focused on disinformation with political content. Their data indicates that disinformation is more successful than legitimate content at both ends of the range (far right and far left), but that the far right is the one that releases the most disinformation.
Facebook has pointed out the data to Insider , noting that engagement does not necessarily imply reach data and also that the sample is “a very small amount of all the content” that circulates on Facebook. However, the data is not very optimistic and the fact that they have blocked access to researchers from the New York university to collect data for another study on a similar topic (political advertisements) does not help their reputation not be damaged.
What this means for brand pages The data is worrying for Facebook users and for citizens in general, as is all the information about how fake news and disinformation spread. For companies, fake news and its effects are harmful, because of what they imply for the general social context, because nothing prevents them from becoming its protagonists and because they damage the credibility of the institutions.
Also, in this case, it reconfirms that almost whatever they do they will have a very difficult time reaching their audiences organically on Facebook. Not only do they have to face the algorithms, but they will also see how content of the worst kind almost has a scorched earth effect.