Spread of Fake News on Facebook And Twitter

Technology and manual checks have halved the spread of fake news on Facebook and Twitter, but disinformation can only be contained, not eliminated.

Facebook and Twitter seem to keep their promises in fake news: their contents are more “clean” than a few months ago and fake news are in sharp decline. This is stated by a recent study conducted by the Stanford and New York Universities and recently published. The research analyzed the presence on the two social networks of 570 fake news sources identified by Polifact and FactCheck, two of the most authoritative services in the world for checking the news.

The academics focused on the number of shares, likes and comments gathered by the hoaxes between January 2015 and January 2018 and confirmed that during the 2016 US presidential elections the number of interactions with these contents has significantly increased and then halved in the following period. clear indication of how the effort made by the social media to combat this hateful phenomenon has brought positive results. The figure would be confirmed by the fact that the number of interactions between users and the main official information sites, in the same period of time, would have remained almost constant.

INTELLIGENCE NOT ONLY ARTIFICIAL. To fight the hoaxes Facebook uses two complementary “tools”: artificial intelligence and human intelligence. The first, thanks to machine learning, analysis of the language and user interaction schemes, identifies potential fake news – which are then revised, and eventually deleted, by the Polifact and FactCheck human analyzes. And it is just a few days ago the Facebook announcement of new advances of anti-hoax systems, which thanks to increasingly advanced AI can now intercept fake news also in video and photo format.

It  said that it is a struggle without exclusion of blows, and a lot of hard to win for those who want to counteract misinformation: the same artificial intelligences can in fact produce false information that is ever more credible.

BUFFALOUS: THE MOST GREEN PASTURES. The research shows that Facebook is worse off than Twitter for viral spread of fake news: the number of interactions on the social network of Zuckerberg is in fact from 15 to 45 times higher than Twitter. But Facebook is also much better at combating them and has managed to reduce their incidence much more than the social network of the bird.

However, the same researchers point out how the battle against fake news is far from over: in the last month of July, user interactions with the 570 buffalo sources were over 70 million. In addition, they add, the study focused on the sources of fake news identified by FactCheck and Polifact: others, even if of minor relevance and lower diffusion, can escape checks.

Hülya Karahan: The Founder

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