Sites that publish fake or hyperpartisan news are almost completely reliant on Facebook for their readership, according to data collected by the marketing analytics firm Jumpshot. The company found that several of these sites get over 70% of their desktop-device traffic from Facebook referrals. By contrast, established news sites, like the New York Times, get less than 30% of their desktop traffic from the social network. Jumpshot collected data from over 20 fake, hyperpartisan, and established news sites between September and November. —Quartz
I think and post about fake news a lot. Just the other day, I came across a Tweet that seemed to show evidence that a very public figure had flip-flopped on a divisive cultural issue. First I had an emotional reaction, then I checked who shared the post I was reacting to. I didn’t recognize the name, but then I noticed it had been shared to the Snopes Facebook page (which I have recently joined), along with a question like, “Is this true?”
That first emotional reaction I had was strong. It confirmed an opinion I already held about that public figure. I don’t harbor any particular burning need to share my feelings on that topic, so I wasn’t about to share the post, but I did get that emotional reaction.
A recent study reports that Facebook supplies the vast majority of traffic to “fake or hyperpartisan news,” and reports that traffic to those questionable sites is about the same regardless of whether a state is red or blue.