“Facebook keeps touting its labels, but data suggests labels actually amplified Trump’s misinformation”

Media Matters:

Facebook keeps touting its labels as a proactive response to misinformation spread on the platform, even though internal and external data shows the labels are ineffective and the platform’s application of them is inconsistent at best. In fact, Media Matters found that the average number of interactions per post on former President Donald Trump’s labeled posts is more than double that of his posts overall, and posts containing his misinformation are still spreading on the platform even though he is suspended from it for now.

In our latest study, Media Matters analyzed former President Trump’s 6,081 posts that he created between January 1, 2020, and January 6, 2021. Key findings include:

  • Facebook labeled at least 506 Trump posts between January 1, 2020, and January 6, 2021. These posts earned over 205.8 million interactions, or an average of roughly 407,000 interactions per post. Comparatively, all of Trump’s posts during this time earned over 927 million interactions, or an average of roughly 152,000 interactions per post.
  • Facebook labeled 147 of Trump’s 868 posts that cited right-wing media outlets. These 147 posts earned over 42 million interactions, or an average of roughly 291,000 interactions per post.
  • Notably, 127 — or over 86% — of Trump’s labeled posts citing right-wing media were related to election integrity, five specifically mentioned “Stop the Steal,” and two were related to COVID-19. These posts earned more average interactions per post than Trump’s posts overall and Trump’s posts citing right-wing media.
  • Even as Trump is suspended from Facebook, the platform is failing to consistently label his election misinformation. Facebook labeled at least two posts that promoted Trump’s May 13 statement, originally posted to his blog, as “false,” but dozens of other posts with images or text from the statement remain on Facebook.
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