In the wake of the US election, concerns are surfacing over the filter bubbles that mediate the information people see in their social media feeds.Filter bubbles are formed by the algorithms social media sites like Facebook use to decide which information to show you, based largely on your own tastes. The idea is to keep you engaged, but the result may be a worldview skewed to fit your own preferences and biases. With 62 per cent of Americans getting their news from social media at least occasionally, t
Bots are social media accounts that automate interaction with other users, and political bots have been particularly active on public policy issues, political crises, and elections. We collected data on bot activity using the major hashtags related to the U.S. Presidential Election. We find that that political bot activity reached an all-time high for the 2016 campaign. (1) Not only did the pace of highly automated pro-Trump activity increase over time, but the gap between highly automated pro-Trump and pro-Clinton activity widened from 4:1 during the first debate to 5:1 by election day. (2) The use of automated accounts was deliberate and strategic throughout the election, most clearly with pro-Trump campaigners and programmers who carefully adjusted the timing of content production during the debates, strategically colonized pro-Clinton hashtags, and then disabled activities after Election Day.Download here.Bence Kollanyi, P
(An investigation in which we decide to use Facebook’s social graph API to see whether fake news or real news is more viral). UPDATE: Since posting, there has been some discussion about this post’s use of the phrase “top stories from local newspapers”. A clarification on how that phrase is used has been appended at the end of the post with some methodology, and some small clarifying edits have been made. The title and core claim of the post remains accurate and stands. What we present here is not the best
In the final three months of the US presidential campaign, the top-performing fake election news stories on Facebook generated more engagement than the top stories from major news outlets such as the New York Times, Washington Post, Huffington Post, NBC News, and others, a BuzzFeed News analysis has found.
During these critical months of the campaign, 20 top-performing false election stories from hoax sites and hyperpartisan blogs generated 8,711,000 shares, reactions, and comments on Facebook.
Within the same time period, the 20 best-performing election stories from 19 major news websites generated a total of 7,367,000 shares, reactions, and comments on Facebook. (This analysis focused on the top performing link posts for both groups of publishers, and not on total site engagement on Facebook. For details on how we identified and analyzed the content, see the bottom of this post. View our data here.)
Up until those last three months of the campaign, the top election content from major outlets had easily outpaced that of fake election news on Facebook. Then, as the election drew closer, engagement for fake content on Facebook skyrocketed and surpassed that of the content from major news outlets.
In addition to doing more to weed out lies and false propaganda, Facebook could tweak its algorithm so that it does less to reinforce users’ existing beliefs, and more to present factual information. This may seem difficult, but perhaps the Silicon Valley billionaires who helped create this problem should take it on before setting out to colonize Mars.Facebook should also allow truly independent researchers to collaborate with its data team to understand and mitigate these problems. A more balanced newsfeed might lead to less “engagement,” but Facebook, with a market capitalization of more than $300 billion and no competitor in sight, can afford this.
Kirkpatrick also pressed Zuckerberg on whether Facebook created a so-called “filter bubble” — an echo chamber where Hillary supporters only see views from fellow Hillary supporters, and Trump supporters only see views from fellow Trump supporters. “All the research we have suggests that this isn’t really a problem,” he said. Zuckerberg cited a study of 10.1 million politically affiliated Facebook users that the company published in Science last year. It found that liberals and conservatives see about 1 percent less news from the opposing side than they would if Facebook didn’t tweak the news feed.
One hard truth that did emerge from the study is that people are simply less likely to click on articles that do not reinforce their previously held beliefs. “I think we would be surprised by how many things that don’t conform to our worldview, we just tune out,” Zuckerberg said. I don’t know what to do about that.”
Zuckerberg said he is deeply concerned about how Facebook could affect democracy, and said there were (unspecified) things the company could do better in the future to improve the way it distributes news. “I really care about this. I want what we do to have a good impact on the world. I want people to have a diversity of information.”
Het succes van Trump op sociale media is mogelijk geholpen door zogeheten filter bubbles: het verschijnsel dat mensen op sociale media vaker berichten te zien krijgen waarmee ze het eens zijn dan berichten die hun opvattingen tegenspreken. Er is veel bewijs voor een polariserend effect van die filterbubbles.
Max Read makes his case via New York Magazine for how Facebook was the reason for Donald Trump’s surprise victory on November 8th. Though, to be fair, “Facebook” is called out specifically due to its large online presence, but in reality all the “large and influential boards and social-media platforms where Americans now congregate to discuss politics” are to blame. The main reason why has to do with Facebook’s “inability (or refusal) to address the problem of hoax or fake news” that is spread rampantly and
Some of Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump’s posts on Facebook have set off an intense debate inside the social media company over the past year, with some employees arguing certain posts about banning Muslims from entering the U.S. should be removed for violating the site’s rules on hate speech, according to people familiar with the matter.
An alarming number of people rely on social media, including and especially Facebook, for news. Over the past few months, we have seen how Facebook’s Trending Topics feature is often biased, and moreover, how sometimes fake news slips through its filter. The Washington Post monitored the website for over three weeks and found that Facebook is still struggling to get its algorithm right. From the report:The Megyn Kelly incident was supposed to be an anomaly. An unfortunate one-off. A bit of (very public, embarrassing) bad luck. But in the six weeks since Facebook revamped its Trending system — and a hoax about the Fox News Channel star subsequently trended — the site has repeatedly promoted “news” stories that are actually works of fiction. As part of a larger audit of Facebook’s Trending topics, the Intersect logged every news story that trended across four accounts during the workdays from Aug. 31 to Sept. 22. During that time, we uncovered five trending stories that were indisputably fake and three that were profoundly inaccurate (Editor’s note: the link could be paywalled; alternate source). On top of that, we found that news releases, blog posts from sites such as Medium and links to online stores such as iTunes regularly trended. Facebook declined to comment about Trending on the record. “I’m not at all surprised how many fake stories have trended,” one former member of the team that used to oversee Trending told the Post. “It was beyond predictable by anyone who spent time with the actual functionality of the product, not just the code.”The Post adds that “there’s no guarantee” that it was able to catch every hoax, since it looked at Trending feature only once every hour.