A BuzzFeed News analysis has found that fake news stories were more popular than legitimate articles from major mainstream news outlets in the last few months of this election.
In the last three months of the American presidential campaign, the fake election news stories that generated the most web traffic on Facebook had higher levels of engagement than the top stories from news outlets like the New York Times, Washington Post, Huffington Post and NBC News, BuzzFeed reports.
Buzzfeed reports that from September to November 2016, the 20 most popular fake election stories from satirical sites, hoax news outlets and partisan blogs had 8,711,000 shares, reactions and comments on Facebook. During that time, the 20 most-clicked political articles from legitimate news websites had a combined total of 7,367,000 shares, reaction, and comments on Facebook.
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg recently said that it is “a pretty crazy idea” to suggest that fake news on Facebook helped sway the election, but later posted, “We have already launched work enabling our community to flag hoaxes and fake news, and there is more we can do here.” There is allegedly a group of Facebook employees who have banded together behind the scenes to work on the fake news problem.
One creator of fake news, Paul Horner, told the Washington Post that he thinks he contributed to Trump's election.
"My sites were picked up by Trump supporters all the time. I think Trump is in the White House because of me," Horner said. "His followers don’t fact-check anything — they’ll post everything, believe anything. His campaign manager posted my story about a protester getting paid $3,500 as fact. Like, I made that up. I posted a fake ad on Craigslist."
Whenever you see an especially inflammatory story, make sure you check if it's for real before you share!