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This new analysis of election content found two false election stories from a Macedonian sites that made the top-10 list in terms of Facebook engagement int he final three months.
Conservative State published a story that falsely quoted Hillary Clinton as saying, “I would like to see people like Donald Trump run for office; they’re honest and can’t be bought.” The story generated over 481,000 engagements on Facebook.
It was published in September, right around the time Alexa notched a noticeable uptick in its traffic ranking: That site was only registered in April of this year.
Its publisher disputes the idea that its content is aimed at misleading readers.
"It may seem like the top stories get a lot of traction, but they represent a tiny fraction of the total."He also said that native video, live content, and image posts from major news outlets saw significant engagement on Facebook.
Of the 20 top-performing false election stories identified in the analysis, all but three were overtly pro-Donald Trump or anti-Hillary Clinton.
The story from Winning Democrats claimed Ireland was accepting anti-Trump "refugees" from the US.
It received over 810,000 Facebook engagements, and was debunked by an Irish publication.
Like several other hyperpartisan right-wing sites that scored big Facebook hits this election season, Ending the Fed is a relatively new website. Yet according to Buzz Feed News' analysis, its top election content received more Facebook engagement than stories from the Washington Post and New York Times.A second false story from a Macedonia site falsely claimed that Clinton was about to be indicted. All the false news stories identified in Buzz Feed News' analysis came from either fake news websites that only publish hoaxes or from hyperpartisan websites that present themselves as publishing real news.The research turned up only one viral false election story from a hyperpartisan left-wing site.He later published a post saying, "We have already launched work enabling our community to flag hoaxes and fake news, and there is more we can do here."This week Buzz Feed News reported that a group of Facebook employees have formed a task force to tackle the issue, with one saying that "fake news ran wild on our platform during the entire campaign season." The Wall Street Journal also reported that Google would begin barring fake news websites from its Ad Sense advertising program. These developments follow a study by Buzz Feed News that revealed hyperpartisan Facebook pages and their websites were publishing false or misleading content at an alarming rate — and generating significant Facebook engagement in the process.The same was true for the more than 100 US politics websites Buzz Feed News found being run out of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia.