These Are 50 Of The Biggest Fake News Hits On Facebook In 2017

Fake news on Facebook drew the attention of the world in 2017. You might think that fake Facebook stories were all about politics, but no. As you can see from the picture, the stories that drew the most "engagement" (shares, reactions, and comments) on Facebook are sensational and salacious stories of everyday people committing crimes that would take longer to debunk. There was a lot of headlines among the top fake stories that included the words "penis" and "vagina," because the publishers know what they are doing. Their business is translating social media engagement into money. After crime, politics was the second-biggest category of fake news, followed by medicine. Facebook launched a fact-check project in 2017. While it identified a lot of hoax stories, the debunking of such stories didn't get the same attention from Facebook users.

Additional analysis reveals a massive Facebook engagement gap between the top fake news stories and their corresponding fact checks. Snopes, PolitiFact,, and ABC News were the initial US participants in Facebook’s fact-checking program, and together they produced at least one fact check for 31 of the 50 top stories in the data. Their debunkings generated a total of 127,543 engagements on Facebook — just .5% of the engagements generated by the hoaxes.

That's akin to newspapers, in that an erroneous front page headline would be corrected in small print on page ten the next day. People remember the headline, not the correction. Now imagine if the front page of your newspaper were written by advertisers instead of journalists. Read more about fake news on Facebook at Buzzfeed.

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