In the months before and after the 2020 election, far-right pages that are known to spread misinformation consistently garnered more engagement on Facebook than any other partisan news, according to a New York University study published Wednesday.
The study looked at Facebook engagement for news sources across the political spectrum between Aug. 10, 2020 and Jan. 11, 2021, and found that on average, far-right pages that regularly trade in misinformation raked in 65% more engagement per follower than other far-right pages that aren’t known for spreading misinformation.
That finding was specific to the far right. In every other category — including far left, slightly left, center and slightly right — misinformation pages saw significantly less engagement than non-misinformation pages of the same political slant.
So, a few takeaways from this:
We know from previous reporting that not only does Facebook know that their algorithms fuel anger, Zuckerberg himself and weakened and blocked efforts to improve those algorithms.
Facebook is financially incentivized to allow the conspiracy theories and lies to continue.