Facebook’s fake news ecosystem empowers false information to spread beyond fringe blogs and websites -- which often have little to no independent readership -- to achieve viral success on affiliated Facebook pages, in turn sending users back to websites and generating revenue. Facebook pages, meanwhile, also generate engagement through likes, shares, and comments, which causes Facebook algorithms to spread the fabrications to a much wider audience than they may reach on their own. Fake news purveyors generate revenue from clicks through advertising services such as Google AdSense, incentivizing them to spread more fabrications and starting the cycle all over again. To learn more about how fake news stories use Facebook to spread in practice, read our analysis of the Facebook fake news ecosystem, and for more on the fake news universe, check out the Media Matters guide to fake news terminology.
Image by Sarah Wasko.