Which is the real and concrete reach of fake news? A research performed by the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism, a globally focused research centre at the University of Oxford, underlined the evidences and the results are really interesting.
Focusing on two European countries, France and Italy, researchers Richard Fletcher, Alessio Cornia, Lucas Graves and Rasmus Kleis Nielsen analysed usage statistics for the most popular sites that independent observers have identified as publishers of false news. Their study found that, compared to the most popular news websites in France (Le Figaro) and Italy (La Repubblica), the false news websites had a significantly inferior average monthly reach, and the same is true for the total time spent with false news websites. Despite these premises, the level of Facebook interaction generated by a small number of false news outlets matched or exceeded that produced by the most popular news brands.
The team concluded that, although many of the most prominent false news websites are far less popular than major established news sites, the difference between false news sites and news sites in terms of interactions on Facebook is less clear-cut. Read their detailed analysis on the reach of “fake news” and online disinformation in Europe.