Understanding engagement with U.S. (mis)information news sources on Facebook

Laura Edelson, Minh Kha Nguyen, Ian Goldstein, Oana Goga, Damon McCoy, Tobias Lauinger

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


    Facebook has become an important platform for news publishers to promote their work and engage with their readers. Some news pages on Facebook have a reputation for consistently low factualness in their reporting, and there is concern that Facebook allows their misinformation to reach large audiences. To date, there is remarkably little empirical data about how often users "like," comment and share content from news pages on Facebook, how user engagement compares between sources that have a reputation for misinformation and those that do not, and how the political leaning of the source impacts the equation. In this work, we propose a methodology to generate a list of news publishers' official Facebook pages annotated with their partisanship and (mis)information status based on third-party evaluations, and collect engagement data for the 7.5 M posts that 2,551 U.S. news publishers made on their pages during the 2020 U.S. presidential election. We propose three metrics to study engagement (1) across the Facebook news ecosystem, (2) between (mis)information providers and their audiences, and (3) with individual pieces of content from (mis)information providers. Our results show that misinformation news sources receive widespread engagement on Facebook, accounting for 68.1% of all engagement with far-right news providers, followed by 37.7 % on the far left. Individual posts from misinformation news providers receive consistently higher median engagement than non-misinformation in every partisanship group. While most prevalent on the far right, misinformation appears to be an issue across the political spectrum.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Title of host publicationIMC 2021 - Proceedings of the 2021 ACM Internet Measurement Conference
    PublisherAssociation for Computing Machinery
    Number of pages20
    ISBN (Electronic)9781450391290
    StatePublished - Nov 2 2021
    Event21st ACM Internet Measurement Conference, IMC 2021 - Virtual, Online, United States
    Duration: Nov 2 2021Nov 4 2021

    Publication series

    NameProceedings of the ACM SIGCOMM Internet Measurement Conference, IMC


    Conference21st ACM Internet Measurement Conference, IMC 2021
    Country/TerritoryUnited States
    CityVirtual, Online


    • Facebook
    • engagement
    • measurement
    • misinformation
    • news

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Software
    • Computer Networks and Communications


    Dive into the research topics of 'Understanding engagement with U.S. (mis)information news sources on Facebook'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

    Cite this