An advocacy group called The Integrity Institute began releasing a report on Thursday that measures how much misinformation is amplified on various social media platforms. Findings show that TikTok and Twitter lead social networks in amplifying the most misinformation.
The Integrity Institute conducted its report after comparing social media posts that members of the International Fact-Checking Network identified as false with engagement numbers of posts that went unflagged from the same accounts.
In September, the institute analyzed almost 600 fact-checked posts that covered a variety of subject matter, including the COVID-19 pandemic, the war in Ukraine, and the upcoming elections in the U.S.
Twitter has been labeled with what the institute calls “the great misinformation amplification factor,” stemming mostly from users’ abilities to easily share (or “retweet”) others’ posts, which causes a wildfire of harmful and untrue information to quickly burn across the platform.
It doesn’t help that what the institute calls a “well-crafted lie” garners more engagement than regular, truthful content. For this, the institute found that specific features and an algorithms’ focus on virality are mostly to blame.
Interestingly, Facebook was found to contain the most instances of misinformation but amplified it at a lower rate.
Sharing posts on Facebook is not as seamless as it is on Twitter, although the design of some of its newer features may change that.
One example is Facebook Watch along with its TikTok copycat short-form video feature known as Reels, which the institute said “both rely heavily on algorithmic content recommendations, which are engagement focused.”
Instagram, on the other hand, scored the lowest amplification rate. YouTube’s misinformation amplification rate could not be calculated due to insufficient data.
As the midterm elections approach, the institute will update its findings weekly, preparing for a boost in misinformation across all platforms.