Real McCoys: Takeaways from Facebook’s latest study of misinformation

To make this more interactive, please play the below video while reading. Don’t worry, the song won’t get stuck in your head for that many weeks, and it provides some metaphorical and auditory guidance (vis-à-vis Real McCoys) for how déjà vu the latest Facebook study on information and fake news feels.

Key takeaways…

Fake news might feel like another night or another dream, but it’s mostly humans (not bots): 

“There is some public discussion of false amplifiers being solely driven by “social bots,” which suggests automation. In the case of Facebook, we have observed that most false amplification in the context of information operations is not driven by automated processes, but by coordinated people who are dedicated to operating inauthentic accounts.”

Fake news is like a vision of nonsense that seems to be true, and Facebook expects journalists to play their part in combating it by… promoting media literacy?: 

“…societies will only be able to resist external information operations if all citizens have the necessary media literacy to distinguish true news from misinformation…”

If this all feels like you’ve heard it before, like it’s just another night or another vision of your feed, it’s because you have.

From Facebook’s “addressing hoaxes and fake news” announcement in 2016:

“We’ve found that a lot of fake news is financially motivated. Spammers make money by masquerading as well-known news organizations, and posting hoaxes that get people to visit to their sites, which are often mostly ads.”

Where does this leave us?

Mostly with further confirmation that Facebook is really trying to do something about stopping misinformation from spreading on their platform.

Facebook began publicly combating misleading content in 2014 with its efforts to kill clickbait, so it’s only fair to take them on the company’s word that they genuinely care about limiting the virality of misinformation, misleading and low-quality content, even if actions sometimes speak louder than words. For more context on fake news and Facebook, check out the below recommended reading.

Recommended reading:

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