Weekly Misinformation Briefings

30 November 2020

We provide weekly misinformation briefings. We will be posting all briefings to this page, so check back regularly for our latest research. The weekly briefings presented here were previously coronavirus-focused, and can be found at this page.

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To be notified of weekly briefings as they are published, please email Marie Lemon at exec.howard@oii.ox.ac.uk 

30-11-2020

For the week preceding 26-11-2020, we find:

  • The social media distribution network of all articles from the top fifteen mainstream news outlets reached just below three billion social media users this week, achieving much greater distribution than state-backed and junk news sources. The average article from state-backed sources reached over 8,400 users, while the average article from mainstream sources reached over 4,700 users and the average junk health article reached over 2,100 users.
  • Similarly, aggregate content from mainstream sources gets the largest amount of total user engagement. However, on a per article basis, state-backed news receives over 300 engagements and junk news receives over 1,600, while average articles from mainstream sources get over 200 engagements.
  • The most prominent junk news and state-backed topics, in descending order, were accusations of oppression of the political right, photos of the week from Chinese state-backed media, President Xi’s comments at the Group of 20 Leaders’ Summit, allegations of electoral fraud in the US, and general coronavirus statistics around the world.

 

23-11-2020

For the week preceding 19-11-2020, we find:

  • The social media distribution network of all articles from the top fifteen mainstream news outlets reached just below three billion social media users this week, achieving much greater distribution than state-backed and junk news sources. The average article from state-backed sources reached over 7,500 users, while the average article from mainstream sources reached over 4,500 users and the average junk health article reached over 2,200 users.
  • Similarly, aggregate content from mainstream sources gets the largest amount of total user engagement. However, on a per article basis, state-backed news receives over 300 engagements and junk news receives over 1,700, while average articles from mainstream sources get over 200 engagements.
  • The most prominent junk news and state-backed topics, in descending order, were false claims about electoral fraud, the “Million MAGA March”, accusations of totalitarianism under Democratic Party government, China and the recent Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership agreement, coronavirus vaccine candidates, photos from the last week, and general coronavirus statistics from around the world.

 

17-11-2020

For the week preceding 11-11-2020, we find:

  • The social media distribution network of all articles from the top fifteen mainstream news outlets reached just below three billion social media users this week, achieving much greater distribution than state-backed and junk news sources. The average article from state-backed sources reached over 8,200 users, while the average article from mainstream sources reached over 4,400 users and the average junk health article reached over 2,300 users.
  • Similarly, aggregate content from mainstream sources gets the largest amount of total user engagement. However, on a per article basis, state-backed news receives over 500 engagements and junk news receives over 1,600, while average articles from mainstream sources get over 350 engagements.
  • Our data collection shows false claims on voter registration in Pennsylvania reached up to 28.3 million individuals on social media.
  • The most prominent junk news and state-backed topics, in descending order, were attacks on the political left, Republican elected officials’ responses to election results, China’s International Import Expo, misinformation on electoral fraud across a number of US states, Pfizer’s recent vaccine candidate, photos of the week, and general coronavirus statistics.

 

10-11-2020

For the week preceding 03-11-2020, we find:

  • The social media distribution network of all articles from the top fifteen mainstream news outlets reached just below three billion social media users this week, achieving much greater distribution than state-backed and junk news sources. But the average article from state-backed sources reached over 8,500 users, while the average article from mainstream sources reached over 4,400 users and the average junk health article reached over 2,000 users.
  • Similarly, aggregate content from mainstream sources gets the largest amount of total user engagement. However, on a per article basis, state-backed news receives over 450 engagements and junk news receives over 1,200, while average articles from mainstream sources get over 350 engagements.
  • The most prominent junk news and state-backed topics, in descending order, were the Chinese International Import Expo, final junk news commentary before the US election, terrorist attacks in France and Austria, updates on vote counts in key US states, and general coronavirus statistics around the world.

02-11-2020

For the week preceding 27-10-2020, we find:

  • The social media distribution network of all articles from the top fifteen mainstream news outlets reached just below three billion social media users this week, achieving much greater distribution than state-backed and junk news sources. But the average article from state-backed sources reached over 7,700 users, while the average article from mainstream sources reached over 4,200 users and the average junk health article reached over 2,000 users.
  • Similarly, aggregate content from mainstream sources gets the largest amount of total user engagement. However, on a per article basis, state-backed news receives over 500 engagements and junk news receives nearly 1,300, while average articles from mainstream sources get over 300 engagements.
  • The most prominent junk news and state-backed topics, in descending order, were alleged Biden family business ties, the confirmation of Judge Barrett to the Supreme Court, US Presidential campaign news, Chinese commemoration of the 70th  anniversary of the Korean War, and general coronavirus statistics around the world.

 

27-10-2020

For the week preceding 22-10-2020, we find:

  • The social media distribution network of all articles from the top fifteen mainstream news outlets reached just below three billion social media users this week, achieving much greater distribution than state-backed and junk news sources. But the average article from state-backed sources reached over 9,500 users, while the average article from mainstream sources reached over 4,500 users and the average junk health article reached over 2,000 users.
  • Similarly, aggregate content from mainstream sources gets the largest amount of total user engagement. However, on a per article basis, state-backed news receives over 500 engagements and junk news receives nearly 1,400, while average articles from mainstream sources get over 300 engagements.
  • The most prominent junk news and state-backed topics, in descending order, were misinformation around Hunter Biden and his Ukrainian business ties, the confirmation of Judge Barrett to the Supreme Court, US Presidential campaign news, police violence and the Black Lives Matter movement, Chinese economic strength, articles with photos from Chinese state-backed outlets, and general coronavirus statistics around the world.

 

19-10-2020

For the week preceding 15-10-2020, we find:

  • The social media distribution network of all articles from the top fifteen mainstream news outlets reached just below three billion social media users this week, achieving much greater distribution than state-backed and junk news sources. But the average article from state-backed sources reached over 8,000 users, while the average article from mainstream sources reached over 4,500 users and the average junk health article reached over 2,300 users.
  • Similarly, aggregate content from mainstream sources gets the largest amount of total user engagement. However, on a per article basis, state-backed news receives over 550 engagements and junk news receives nearly 1,400, while average articles from mainstream sources get over 300 engagements.
  • The most prominent junk news and state-backed topics, in descending order, were police violence around the world, the confirmation hearings of Judge Amy Coney Barrett, US election campaign news, Chinese economic strength, and general coronavirus statistics.

 

12-10-2020

For the week preceding 08-10-2020, we find:

  • The social media distribution network of all articles from the top fifteen mainstream news outlets reached just below three billion social media users this week, achieving much greater distribution than state-backed and junk news sources. But the average article from state-backed sources reached over 8,000 users, while the average article from mainstream sources reached over 4,700 users and the average junk health article reached over 2,500 users.
  • Similarly, aggregate content from mainstream sources gets the largest amount of total user engagement. However, on a per article basis, state-backed news receives over 400 engagements and junk news receives over 1,400, while average articles from mainstream sources get over 300 engagements.
  • The most prominent junk news and state-backed topics, in descending order, were President Trump’s coronavirus diagnosis, perceived violence by Black Lives Matter (BLM) activists and the political left, the Chinese Golden Week national holiday and China’s economic recovery, and the first US Presidential debate.

 

05-10-2020

For the week preceding 01-10-2020, we find:

  • The social media distribution network of all articles from the top fifteen mainstream news outlets reached just below three billion social media users this week, achieving much greater distribution than state-backed and junk news sources. But the average article from state-backed sources reached over 7,500 users, while the average article from mainstream sources reached over 4,500 users and the average junk health article reached over 2,300 users.
  • Similarly, aggregate content from mainstream sources gets the largest amount of total user engagement. However, on a per article basis, state-backed news receives over 600 engagements and junk news receives just below 1,700, while average articles from mainstream sources get over 300 engagements.
  • The most prominent junk news and state-backed topics, in descending order, were the nomination of Judge Amy Coney Barrett for the US Supreme Court, the attribution of violence to Black Lives Matter (BLM) and the political left, the first US Presidential debate, and China’s role in climate change.

 

29-09-2020

For the week preceding 24-09-2020, we find:

  • The social media distribution network of all articles from the top fifteen mainstream news outlets reached just below three billion social media users this week, achieving much greater distribution than state-backed and junk news sources. But the average article from state-backed sources reached over 8,000 users, while the average article from mainstream sources reached over 4,500 users and the average junk health article reached over 2,450 users.
  • Similarly, aggregate content from mainstream sources gets the largest amount of total user engagement. However, on a per article basis, state-backed news receives over 600 engagements and junk news receives just below 1,400, while average articles from mainstream sources get over 300 engagements.
  • The most prominent junk news and state-backed topics, in descending order, include misinformation surrounding the US Supreme Court vacancy following Justice Ginsburg’s death, China’s role on the international stage, and protests and police shootings in the US.

 

22-09-2020

For the week preceding 17-09-2020, we find:

  • The social media distribution network of all articles from the top fifteen mainstream news outlets reached over three billion social media users this week, achieving much greater distribution than state-backed and junk news sources. But the average article from state-backed sources reached over 8,700 users, while the average article from mainstream sources reached over 4,700 users and the average junk health article reached over 2,580 users.
  • Similarly, aggregate content from mainstream sources gets the largest amount of total user engagement. However, on a per article basis, state-backed news receives over 600 engagements and junk news receives over 1450, while average articles from mainstream sources get just over 300 engagements.
  • The most prominent junk news topics, in descending order, include misinformation about police shootings, the Israel-Bahrain diplomatic deal, the recovery of the Chinese economy, and general 2020 US election campaign news.