Report: "Hyperpartisan" Facebook pages dominate online political discourse with "false or misleading information"

New BuzzFeed News report finds sites "play to partisan biases using false or misleading" info to build followings

Published October 21, 2016 2:39PM (EDT)

 (AP Photo/Matt Rourke, File)
(AP Photo/Matt Rourke, File)

BuzzFeed News on Thursday released an analysis of "hyperpartisan" Facebook pages and websites, which it said "are consistently feeding their millions of followers false or misleading information."

BuzzFeed reviewed more than 1,000 posts from "six large hyperpartisan Facebook pages selected from the right and from the left" and found "the least accurate pages generated some of the highest numbers of shares, reactions, and comments on Facebook — far more than the three large mainstream political news pages analyzed for comparison."

"The best way to attract and grow an audience for political content on the world’s biggest social network," the report concluded, "is to eschew factual reporting and instead play to partisan biases using false or misleading information that simply tells people what they want to hear."

BuzzFeed gave as an example the following post from conservative Facebook page Freedom Daily News:

Its analysis:

The altercation was actually between two people, a black man and his co-worker —and perhaps most importantly, the co-worker is not white. Court documents allege that the fight began with the co-worker throwing the first punch. Prosecutors also said the second man caught fire as a result of him coming into contact with the first man who was engulfed in flames. And finally, in spite of the headline’s claim that the incident was “CENSORED” by the media, it was widely covered by Baltimore media as well as by CNN and the Daily Mail’s website. (The man who allegedly set the fire, Christopher Harrison Jr., was charged with attempted first-degree murder, reckless endangerment, and first- and second-degree assault.)

Read the full report here.

By Brendan Gauthier

Brendan Gauthier is a freelance writer.

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Black Lives Matter Buzzfeed News Elections 2016 Facebook Hyperpartisan