3. Scoop: Verified tweeters break misinfo record
Verified accounts on Twitter shared more content from deceptive websites than ever in 2020, according to new research from the German Marshall Fund shared exclusively with Axios' Ashley Gold.
Why it matters: Verified accounts are supposed to help social media users seek out trustworthy information and know who they're hearing from. If verified users constantly share false information, it defeats the purpose and reinforces false narratives.
On Facebook, interactions with deceptive content also at an all-time high. GMF measured overall interactions on that platform, not just from verified accounts.
- GMF defines "deceptive content" as false or manipulative according to NewsGuard, a service that ranks websites on their reliability.
Between the lines: The findings underscore the uncomfortable reality that certain conservative media outlets tend to be among the most unapologetic purveyors of false or misleading information, with Daily Wire, Newsmax, The Federalist and Gateway Pundit all ranking as deceptive sites.
By the numbers:
- In Q4 2020, GMF measured 1.2 billion interactions with deceptive sites on Facebook. In Q4 2019, that number was 941 million.
- In Q4 2020, GMF measured verified accounts sharing (tweeting or retweeting) material from deceptive sites on Twitter 47 million times, up from 28 million in the prior-year period.
What's happening: False information about the election outcome and COVID-19 mostly drove the increase in shares of deceptive information, the research shows.
- Overall, engagement with deceptive sites is more than 2x higher than before the 2016 presidential election, though GMF credits Facebook for limiting spread of deceptive content to a certain extent by boosting more reliable information after the election.