The labels Facebook has been putting on false election posts from President Donald Trump have failed to slow their spread across the platform, according to internal data seen by BuzzFeed News.
In the aftermath of the 2020 US presidential election, Trump has repeatedly spread false information questioning President-elect Joe Biden’s victory — and been rewarded with massive engagement on Facebook. The company has attempted to temper this by adding labels to the false claims directing people to accurate information about the election and its results.
But this has done little to prevent Trump’s false claims from going viral on Facebook, according to discussions on internal company discussion boards. After an employee asked last week whether Facebook has any data about the effectiveness of the labels, a data scientist revealed that the labels — referred to as “informs” internally — do very little to reduce them from being shared.
”We have evidence that applying these informs to posts decreases their reshares by ~8%,” the data scientists said. “However given that Trump has SO many shares on any given post, the decrease is not going to change shares by orders of magnitude.”
The data scientist noted that adding the labels was not expected to reduce the spread of false content. Instead, they are used “to provide factual information in context to the post.”
“Ahead of this election we developed informational labels, which we applied to candidate posts with a goal of connecting people with reliable sources about the election,” Facebook spokesperson Liz Bourgeois said in a statement, adding that labels were “just one piece of our larger election integrity efforts.”