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Facebook’s slow reaction to 2020 election misinformation led to over 10 billion views of garbage

Gosh, who would have thought?

facebook logo with qanon supporters in background
Image: KnowTechie

It’s safe to say that most of us realize that Facebook is a garbage dump disguised as a social media platform, but as time goes on, more and more reports help prove that. The most recent example comes from a study that shows Facebook really dropped the ball during the 2020 election.

In a new report by online advocacy group Avaaz, and reported on by TIME, it was revealed that Facebook’s slow reaction to the everchanging landscape meant over 10.1 billion views on “top-performing pages that repeatedly shared misinformation” could have been prevented.

Avaaz went as far as to say that Facebook “was a significant catalyst in creating the conditions that swept America down the dark path from election to insurrection.”

One significant moment happened during the summer of 2020 when Black Lives Matter protests, and other anti-racism groups were at their peak. Avaaz notes that during that time, the top 100 “repeat misinformers” on Facebook were getting way more interactions (in the millions) compared to the top 100 traditional US media pages combined.

Avaaz also referenced this study which discussed the Capitol riots, noting that “over half (55%) were not connected to extremist groups, but rather were ‘inspired by a range of extremist narratives, conspiracy theories, and personal motivations.'”

Fadi Quran, a campaign director at Avaaz, tells TIME, “The scary thing is that this is just for the top 100 pages—this is not the whole universe of misinformation. This doesn’t even include Facebook Groups, so the number is likely much bigger. We took a very, very conservative estimate in this case.”

Facebook, of course, refutes the report, saying, “This report distorts the serious work we’ve been doing to fight violent extremism and misinformation on our platform.” It is true that the company has been working on removing misinformation and bringing in an Oversight Board, but this energy should have always been present, even before the election.

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