View profile

This newsletter was designed to be addictive [The Interface]

Revue
 
Hmm let's see, what other sorts of misinformation are spreading on Facebook? Aha: abortion. Of course
 
November 10 · Issue #25 · View online
The Interface
Hmm let’s see, what other sorts of misinformation are spreading on Facebook? Aha: abortion. Of course, abortion:
Evidence-based, credible articles about abortion from reputable news outlets like The New York Times and The Washington Post didn’t make it to the top of the list of “most shared” articles on Facebook last year, according to BuzzSumo. But articles from the site LifeNews.com did.
LifeNews, which has just under one million followers on Facebook, is one of several large anti-abortion sites that can command hundreds of thousands of views on a single post. These sites produce vast amounts of misinformation; the Facebook page for the organization Live Action, for instance, has two million Facebook followers and posts videos claiming there’s a correlation between abortion and breast cancer. And their stories often generate more engagement than the content produced by mainstream news organizations, said Sharon Kann, the program director for abortion rights and reproductive health at Media Matters, a watchdog group. People on Facebook engage with anti-abortion content more than abortion-rights content at a “disproportionate rate,” she said, which, as a result of the company’s algorithms, means more people see it.
As writer Rossalyn Warner notes, there’s a political dimension here too:
The Irish government says it will hold a referendum next year on whether to relax the country’s strict ban on abortion. Some abortion-rights campaigners have expressed concern over the role of misinformation on social media platforms like Facebook in the lead-up to the vote, but it’s far from clear whether those concerns are being listened to.
There’s an arms race between the people who want to publish hoaxes and the platforms that host them. And right now it seems clear that the hoaxers are in the lead.
Have a great weekend!

Democracy
Tech companies are cheering on a bill that guts internet protections
Russian foreign ministry says retaliation against U.S. media could begin next week
Elsewhere
Facebook Isn't Listening Through Your Phone's Microphone. It Doesn't Have To
Facebook was designed to be addictive. Does that make it evil?
Launches
Instagram could let you follow hashtags soon
Facebook relaunches Events as a Foursquare-like app called Local
Takes
Russia investigation: Silicon Valley can help, and must
It’s time to stop trusting Google search already
Twitter's verification program was a mess from the start
And finally ...
Does the Upside Down Twitter Logo Look Like Sonic? An Investigation
Talk to me
Questions? Comments? Weekend plans? casey@theverge.com 
Did you enjoy this issue?
If you don't want these updates anymore, please unsubscribe here
If you were forwarded this newsletter and you like it, you can subscribe here
Powered by Revue