There has been a lot of talk about Facebook’s spread of fake and hyperpartisan news, yet Facebook claims that only 1 percent of their content is fake news. To gain insight into this claim, Jumpshot conducted a study that analyzed the unique visitors of 20 known fake and hyperpartisan news sites, one known satire news site (The Onion), and three reputable sites (The New York Times, CNN and The Huffington Post).
The results revealed that Facebook referrals account for more traffic to fake news sites than reputable ones. Approximately 50 percent of total traffic to fake news sites was referred from Facebook. However, only 20 percent of total traffic to reputable news sites was referred from Facebook. The site with the highest portion of Facebook referrals was Occupy Democrats, a fake news site, which had 79 percent of its total traffic coming from Facebook. American News, another fake news site, followed with 78 percent. This differs from reputable sites that had significantly less traffic originating from Facebook. Only 29 percent of the Huffington Post’s traffic, 20 percent of the New York Times’ traffic, and 11 percent of CNN’s traffic came from Facebook.
Interesting demographic trends emerged. Individuals in the oldest age group, 65 and above, were the most likely to click on fake and hyperpartisan news. Millennials, in comparison to the rest of the population, were 16 percent less likely to click on this type of news.