The researchers found that a small group of social media accounts were responsible for spreading fake news about the US election.
On the morning of November 5, Eric Trump, one of President Trump's sons, asked his Facebook followers to report various election cases. fraud with the hashtag Stop the Steal - his post has been shared more than 5.000 times. By late afternoon, "Diamond and Silk" (Lynnette Hardaway and Rochelle Richardson) had shared the hashtag with a video alleging voter fraud in Pennsylvania. Their post has been shared over 3.800 times. That night, activist Brandon Straka called on people to protest at Michigan with the #StoptheSteal banner. His post has been shared more than 3.700 times.
The following week, the phrase "StoptheSteal" was used to promote dozens of rallies that spread false allegations about the presidential election. USA.
A survey by Avaaz, a global human rights group, the Elections Integrity Partnership and The New York Times shows how a small group of people - mostly celebrities with large effect on social media - helped spread the fake news that led to these rallies.
"Because of the way Facebook's algorithm works, these superspreaders are able to do just that," said Fadi Quran, Avaaz's director.
Across Facebook, there were about 3,5 million interactions - including "like" tags, comments and shares - in public posts referring to "Stop the Steal" during the week of November 3, according to the survey. . Of these, the profiles of Eric Trump, Diamond and Silk and Straka accounted for a disproportionate share - about 6 percent, or 200.000, of these interactions.
While the group's impact was remarkable, it did not come close to spreading Donald Trump's posts. All 20 posts that contained the word "election" and had the longest engagement on Facebook last week was by Mr. Trump, according to Crowdtangle, an analytics tool owned by Facebook. All of these posts were considered false or misleading by independent fact-checkers.
Unfounded allegations of election fraud have been used by the president and his supporters to challenge the vote count and voting process in many States.
Allegations of electoral fraud have continued to rise in recent weeks due to some specific accounts on social media. A look at a four-week period starting in mid-October shows that President Trump and the top 25 misinformation superspreaders accounted for 28,6% of the interactions people had with this content, according to an analysis by Avaaz.
To find the superspreaders, Avaaz compiled a list of 95.546 such Facebook posts. These posts have been liked, shared or commented on almost 60 million times by people on Facebook. Avaaz found that only 33 of the 95.546 posts were responsible for over 13 million of these interactions.
A Facebook spokesman said the company had added tags to posts that misrepresented the election. procedure and directed people to an election information center.
The company has not commented on why accounts that repeatedly share fake news such as Straka and Diamond and Silk have not been penalized. Facebook has previously stated that President Trump, along with other elected officials politicians, is in special status and has a different treatment.
Many of the superspreaders' accounts have had millions of interactions in their Facebook posts over the past month. The accounts were active on both Twitter and Facebook.
The Twitter accounts of President Trump, his son Eric, Mr. Straka and Mr. Levin were among the top 20 fake news accounts about the election, according to Ian Kennedy, a researcher at the University of Washington.
Source: New York Times