Trends in the diffusion of misinformation on social media

Hunt Allcott, Matthew Gentzkow, Chuan Yu

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    Abstract

    In recent years, there has been widespread concern that misinformation on social media is damaging societies and democratic institutions. In response, social media platforms have announced actions to limit the spread of false content. We measure trends in the diffusion of content from 569 fake news websites and 9540 fake news stories on Facebook and Twitter between January 2015 and July 2018. User interactions with false content rose steadily on both Facebook and Twitter through the end of 2016. Since then, however, interactions with false content have fallen sharply on Facebook while continuing to rise on Twitter, with the ratio of Facebook engagements to Twitter shares decreasing by 60%. In comparison, interactions with other news, business, or culture sites have followed similar trends on both platforms. Our results suggest that the relative magnitude of the misinformation problem on Facebook has declined since its peak.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    JournalResearch and Politics
    Volume6
    Issue number2
    DOIs
    StatePublished - Apr 1 2019

    Fingerprint

    facebook
    social media
    twitter
    trend
    news
    interaction
    website
    society

    Keywords

    • fake news
    • Misinformation
    • social media

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Sociology and Political Science
    • Public Administration
    • Political Science and International Relations

    Cite this

    Trends in the diffusion of misinformation on social media. / Allcott, Hunt; Gentzkow, Matthew; Yu, Chuan.

    In: Research and Politics, Vol. 6, No. 2, 01.04.2019.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    Allcott, Hunt ; Gentzkow, Matthew ; Yu, Chuan. / Trends in the diffusion of misinformation on social media. In: Research and Politics. 2019 ; Vol. 6, No. 2.
    @article{0b99831834024ca98a7907b05c8968ec,
    title = "Trends in the diffusion of misinformation on social media",
    abstract = "In recent years, there has been widespread concern that misinformation on social media is damaging societies and democratic institutions. In response, social media platforms have announced actions to limit the spread of false content. We measure trends in the diffusion of content from 569 fake news websites and 9540 fake news stories on Facebook and Twitter between January 2015 and July 2018. User interactions with false content rose steadily on both Facebook and Twitter through the end of 2016. Since then, however, interactions with false content have fallen sharply on Facebook while continuing to rise on Twitter, with the ratio of Facebook engagements to Twitter shares decreasing by 60{\%}. In comparison, interactions with other news, business, or culture sites have followed similar trends on both platforms. Our results suggest that the relative magnitude of the misinformation problem on Facebook has declined since its peak.",
    keywords = "fake news, Misinformation, social media",
    author = "Hunt Allcott and Matthew Gentzkow and Chuan Yu",
    year = "2019",
    month = "4",
    day = "1",
    doi = "10.1177/2053168019848554",
    language = "English (US)",
    volume = "6",
    journal = "Research and Politics",
    issn = "2053-1680",
    publisher = "SAGE Publications Ltd",
    number = "2",

    }

    TY - JOUR

    T1 - Trends in the diffusion of misinformation on social media

    AU - Allcott, Hunt

    AU - Gentzkow, Matthew

    AU - Yu, Chuan

    PY - 2019/4/1

    Y1 - 2019/4/1

    N2 - In recent years, there has been widespread concern that misinformation on social media is damaging societies and democratic institutions. In response, social media platforms have announced actions to limit the spread of false content. We measure trends in the diffusion of content from 569 fake news websites and 9540 fake news stories on Facebook and Twitter between January 2015 and July 2018. User interactions with false content rose steadily on both Facebook and Twitter through the end of 2016. Since then, however, interactions with false content have fallen sharply on Facebook while continuing to rise on Twitter, with the ratio of Facebook engagements to Twitter shares decreasing by 60%. In comparison, interactions with other news, business, or culture sites have followed similar trends on both platforms. Our results suggest that the relative magnitude of the misinformation problem on Facebook has declined since its peak.

    AB - In recent years, there has been widespread concern that misinformation on social media is damaging societies and democratic institutions. In response, social media platforms have announced actions to limit the spread of false content. We measure trends in the diffusion of content from 569 fake news websites and 9540 fake news stories on Facebook and Twitter between January 2015 and July 2018. User interactions with false content rose steadily on both Facebook and Twitter through the end of 2016. Since then, however, interactions with false content have fallen sharply on Facebook while continuing to rise on Twitter, with the ratio of Facebook engagements to Twitter shares decreasing by 60%. In comparison, interactions with other news, business, or culture sites have followed similar trends on both platforms. Our results suggest that the relative magnitude of the misinformation problem on Facebook has declined since its peak.

    KW - fake news

    KW - Misinformation

    KW - social media

    UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=85065637688&partnerID=8YFLogxK

    UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/citedby.url?scp=85065637688&partnerID=8YFLogxK

    U2 - 10.1177/2053168019848554

    DO - 10.1177/2053168019848554

    M3 - Article

    VL - 6

    JO - Research and Politics

    JF - Research and Politics

    SN - 2053-1680

    IS - 2

    ER -