The efforts undertaken by Facebook for the past two years to try to limit the spread of false information could begin to pay. This is what emerges from a study conducted by three scientists from Stanford university, published Friday, September 14. They have identified 570 sites “producers of false information” and have studied the level of activity generated by their articles on Twitter and on Facebook between January 2015 and July 2018.
The study shows that the number of users of Facebook ” likant “, commenting or sharing articles posted on sites known for their publications to be false or highly biased has declined significantly from the end of the year 2016. This trend seems to be Facebook, as the number of users of Twitter sharing these articles has continued to increase during the same period. At the beginning of the measures the researchers, the ratio of sharing on Twitter and interaction on Facebook was 1 to 40 (1 Twitter for sharing 40 interactions on Facebook). In July 2018, it was no longer that of 1 to 15.
To make these measurements, researchers have developed a list of 570 sites, almost exclusively English-speaking, by combining several lists of pre-existing, established by media specialists in the “fact-checking” (” verification of the facts “) or by academics in previous studies. They have retained only sites appearing in several of these lists. Some sites are owned media (like tabloid newspaper british Daily Express, or a site belonging to the Times of India), others contain only articles purely deceptive without a specific purpose and many are for political purposes, principally for the hard right american. Data sharing (on Twitter) and engagement (on Facebook) are from a commercial company specialized in audience measurement on social networks.