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This newsletter was designed to be addictive [The Interface]

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 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!

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