Fake news sharing: a Balliol-led study reports

Thursday 8 February

A study by Philip Howard (Professor of Internet Studies at the Oxford Internet Institute and Professorial Fellow) and postgraduate student Lisa-Maria Neudert (and others) has found that on Twitter, supporters of President Trump share more junk news on than other groups, and on Facebook, extreme far-right networks circulate the largest volume of junk news.

The findings are from recently published research by the Computational Propaganda Project in the Oxford Internet Institute. The team analysed the social media activity of US Twitter and Facebook users in the three months leading up to President Trump’s State of the Union Address in January 2018. Defining junk news as deliberately misleading, deceptive or incorrect information purporting to be real news about politics, economics or culture, they identified 91 sources of propaganda operating across the political spectrum. They used this information to compile a dataset of Twitter users and public Facebook pages consuming or sharing junk content, and then categorised these audiences by their political interests by using a supervised machine learning algorithm.