Misrepresentation: the world’s great, burgeoning industry

Paper Truths is a weekly newsletter that combs some of the darkest corners of the internet for disinformation and misinformation, analyzing the strategies and tactics, providing the tools needed to fight back against bad actors’ narratives. Every week it focuses on the issues that are at the center of American politics, outlining the facts that are being manipulated and warped: voting rights, abortion, education, the economy, and more. This is one contribution:

SOCIAL MEDIA
19 of Facebook’s Top 20 Pages for American Christians are Run by Eastern European Troll Farms Overseas

Millions of Americans have joined a variety of either Christian American or Black American Facebook groups in an attempt to create a community for themselves. These groups purport to be made by Christian/Black Americans, for Christian/Black Americans, with the largest reaching over 75 million users a month, an audience 20 or 30 times the size of the next largest Christian Facebook group.

What the facts say: The reality is these groups are managed by individuals largely based in Kosovo and Macedonia, in what is called “troll farms.” These groups were part of a larger network that collectively reached nearly half of all Americans, according to an internal Facebook company report, and achieved that reach not through user choice but primarily as a result of Facebook’s own platform design and engagement-hungry algorithm.

This is a continuation of the argument that social media’s algorithm can create group-think, adhere to confirmation bias, and prioritizes ad revenue versus positive social benefits.

My comment: Why do people waste their time on these social media sites? I can understand using (former) Facebook as a means of keeping in touch with one’s immediate family, but beyond that why would you waste your time reading the blatherings of strangers, particularly strangers peddling lies and disinformation?

Go for a walk. Read a good book

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