20 million shares of video clips with fake news about coronavirus on Facebook

News - Oct 12, 2020

YouTube video clips with fake news about coronavirus are mostly commonly spread via social media, primarily Facebook, where such content had nearly 20 million shares from October 2019 until June 2020, according to a survey of the Oxford Internet Institute.

The survey covered more than a million YouTube video clips related to coronavirus, and then all those with false news were removed. The survey authors say that such content had 150,000 views on average and that it took 41 days to remove it, despite misinformation prevention algorithms.

Before deleting video clips about coronavirus on YouTube, the highest number of reactions from the audience was registered on Facebook, and the survey showed that such content had cca 11,000 likes, comments and shares. The disputable content was less shared on Twitter, with 63 retweets on average.

Aleksi Knuutila, a researcher from the Oxford Internet Institute, says that videos with false coronavirus news have wide audience, resulting in a negative impact on public attitude and behaviour, adding that platforms such as YouTube and Facebook should provide only accurate and validated information.

According to the Institute reps, video content with fake coronavirus news reach more SoMe users than the overall content distributed by large media companies in English such as the CNN, BBC, ABC News, Fox News and Al Jazeera, whose video posts were shared 15 million times.

The survey also showed that only 250 Facebook groups were responsible for a half of visibility of such video clips, and they include those against the vaccine and those focused on the 5G network, as well as music and religious organisations. The most popular fake news referred to treatment methods and protection from coronavirus.

In addition to Facebook and Twitter, content on Reddit was analysed as well, and the whole survey is available at this link.




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