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Yelp published its 2023 Trust and Safety Report detailing actions it took against lead generators, fake review groups and businesses incentivizing reviews.Yelp Cracks Down on Paid Review Groups
The report details the proactive approach to chasing down online review groups and breaking them up.
Among the tactics Yelp used is identifying IP addresses used for fake positive reviews, as well as connecting users to groups that are arranging paid reviews.
Yelp’s Trust and Safety report revealed that it fights online review exchanges by identifying the groups on social media and working together with Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn to break them up.
In a 2023 blog post about their recommendation software, Yelp wrote that they monitor online groups and even conduct sting operations to catch the fake review rings.
Yelps newly released Trust and Safety report explains:
“Yelp strictly prohibits offering incentives or other compensation in exchange for writing, changing or removing a review.
To combat this on and off our platform, our User Operations team did the following in 2023:
– Issued 415+ warnings to businesses for engaging in compensated or incentivized review behaviors.
– As part of our broader Consumer Alerts program, we placed 88 Compensated Activity Alerts on business pages after receiving evidence someone offered cash or other incentives in exchange for posting, updating or removing a review.
We also placed 405 Suspicious Review Activity Alerts after our systems detected a large number of positive reviews coming from a single IP address, or reviews from users who may be connected to a group that coordinates incentivized reviews.
Made 1,100+ reports to third-party sites, such as Twitter (150 reports were made by Yelp), Facebook (130 reports), Instagram (110 reports) and LinkedIn (70 reports), to warn them of content from more than 900 suspicious groups, posts or individuals we found on their sites participating in online review exchanges.
Third-party platforms took action on content at issue in approximately 77% of our reports.”Yelp Closes Thousands of Fraudulent Accounts
The Trust and Safety report reports that Yelp closed over 77,000 user accounts for terms of service violations and suspected deceptive and abusive actions.
They also rejected over 32,800 potential new business pages for being associated with spammy activities that violated Yelp’s policies.
“Nearly 2,000 business pages removed for being associated with lead generators, violating Yelp’s policies.Yelp User Operations Team Content Removals
The report notes that 2% of all Yelp contributions were removed by their user operations team in 2023. That includes reviews, photos, review up-voting, and other forms of contributions.Yelp Trust and Safety
The integrity of reviews is important to a recommender ecosystem like Yelp. Yelp uses a recommendation software as their first line of defense against deceptive behavior. The software itself is dynamic in that it keeps tabs on the users and businesses as they engage with the platform.
“The recommendation software is entirely automated and applies the same objective rules to every business. The reviews that are recommended for any business can change over time as Yelp’s software learns more about the reviewers and the business.”
It also employs human moderators in their User Operations team to follow up and manually review reports generated by users, businesses or their automated systems.
Read Yelp’s Trust and Safety Report for 2023
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Picture this: You’re about to use your hard-earned money to purchase a product or book a service. You ask the business how they will guarantee your satisfaction, and they say to you “don’t worry, just take our word for it!”
The truth is, that would never happen because, luckily, we have online review sites to back up our purchasing decisions. Your audience is no longer blindly selecting your business. Thanks to online review sites like Yelp, you can let your customers do the talking for you. Today, we’ll explain how by providing answers to questions like:
How do you get reviews on Yelp?
How can you respond to reviews on Yelp?
How can Yelp help my business?
By the end of this post, your business will be ready to rake in raving reviews!Why your business needs reviews on Yelp
Despite the rise of online review sites like Google My Business and others, Yelp remains the dominant force in online reviews. In fact, Yelp is consistently the top public directory site worldwide.
Not only that, but there’s a strong correlation between visits to a business’s Yelp page and purchases. So much so that 97% of consumers make a purchase after visiting Yelp.
If you want to capture the attention of these high-intent searchers, you need a strong presence on Yelp. It’s all about getting reviews. The more positive reviews you have on Yelp, the more likely consumers are to view your business as trustworthy.
If you’re new to the Yelp game, that’s okay! It’s never too late to begin thinking about how to get reviews and respond on Yelp. Next, we’ll dig into a handy-dandy guide to taking your local marketing to the next level with Yelp.How to get Yelp reviews: 6 tips
There are a few tactics to grow the number of reviews you receive on the platform for a top-tier Yelp listing:1. Claim your Yelp page
Before you begin trying to get more reviews, you need to plant your flag on your little corner of the Yelp universe. If your business has been around a while, it’s possible it already has Yelp reviews on an unclaimed page. If you’re just starting out, you might be absent from Yelp altogether.
Either way, your first step is to claim your business profile on Yelp. To do so, head over to Yelp for Business. When you search for your business’s name, you’ll have the opportunity to claim an existing profile or establish one, if none exists.
If your business has already accrued some reviews, Yelp will verify that you’re truly the business owner before they hand over the profile. If you’re just starting out, they will similarly ensure you’re legitimately in charge of the business before allowing you to create a Yelp account.
Once your business’s Yelp profile is set up, take some time to trick it out!2. Make it easy for people to leave reviews on your Yelp page
The next step is to make it simple for customers to find your Yelp page. A great online presence stitches together all of your multi-channel marketing assets so consumers can seamlessly travel from one to the next.
If you’ve linked up all of your social media platforms, local listings, and website properly, a prospect should be able to find their way from your Yelp page to your website to your Instagram (or vice versa) with no friction.
When you’re claiming your Yelp profile, add your contact information—including website, address, phone number, and social handles—to your profile.
Once your Yelp profile is officially claimed, link out to it from your website, include it in your email signature, and remind social media followers they can find you on Yelp.3. Try in-person promotions
If you have a brick-and-mortar business, you should announce your Yelp presence in the real world. Yelp makes official stickers and window clings for businesses to display in their stores. Be sure to order some for your location.
Advertising your presence on Yelp in your store has a few benefits. When a Yelp sign hangs in your front window, it encourages passersby to look you up online and see what previous customers have said about your business.
Additionally, it’s a subtle reminder to those who just made a purchase to share their experience online.
Image source4. Remind your customers to review your business on Yelp
Once someone has made a purchase with you, it’s time to do some targeted outreach to get Yelp reviews. You can plant the seed right after the purchase is made.
For example, you could include a link to your Yelp page in an e-receipt or mention that you’re on Yelp on a physical receipt.5. Ask for Yelp reviews over email
You could also reach out to your customers via email a few days later and ask them to review you on Yelp. Try incentives like offering a coupon to encourage them to leave reviews.
However, when employing your outreach avoid them to write a nice review. Consumers rely on Yelp being unbiased, and any communication that comes across as an attempt to sway customers’ statements about your business online will reflect poorly on you.
Aside from simply growing your business’s Yelp presence, sending an email asking for feedback can also catch people who are upset before they write a negative review. Often, people post negative online reviews because they don’t feel heard by a company. They’ve had an issue that’s gone ignored, and they feel that griping publicly is the only way to get the business’s attention.
However, if you take the time to reach out via email shortly after purchase, you give these people a chance to privately share their concerns rather than blasting you on the internet.
Related: Get free email templates to simplify asking for reviews.6. Follow up to get even more Yelp reviews
If you don’t hear from your new customer right away, that’s alright. People are busy, emails get lost in the shuffle—don’t take it personally or get discouraged, but do follow up.
Since it’s not necessary to get responses from every single person, and you don’t want new customers to feel like you’re harassing them, two follow-ups are more than enough.How to respond to Yelp reviews
You should respond to every review you get on Yelp, from the glowing to the glowering.Responding to negative Yelp reviews
Business owners often hate the idea of responding to negative reviews. The biggest tip here is to take a deep breath and search for constructive criticism in the review before responding. Often there’s a legitimate concern behind the review, even if it’s the spicy language that catches your eye and spikes your blood pressure.
Related: Check out our guide on how to handle negative reviews.
Image sourceResponding to positive Yelp reviews
Don’t get so caught up in thinking about bad reviews that you ignore the great ones! These happy customers need your time and attention, too. If someone has taken the time to say something nice about you online, that deserves a thank you. Your kind, simple, sincere expression of gratitude goes a long way to cementing the positive feelings they already had about your business.
Image sourceRespond to reviews publicly first, then move to a private conversation
The last thing to keep in mind is that you should keep your responses to reviews public. Luckily, Yelp gives business owners the opportunity to directly message reviewers. But, before you respond privately, post a response that others will see.
This is especially important for negative reviews. If handled properly, your measured and thoughtful response to a bad review can actually turn that customer’s negative opinion into a positive for your business.
When you respond publicly, other consumers considering your brand see you responding with integrity and kindness. That can sway them to do business with you despite the original reviewer’s negative experience.
Once you’ve responded publicly, it may be appropriate to take things offline. For example, if you’re following up on a negative review with a coupon code for the future or to share the process for refunding them their original purchase, that is something to send one-on-one. Just be sure to mention in the public post that you’ll be following up offline with specifics, so others don’t think you left your unhappy customer hanging.
Image sourceUse Yelp to promote your business
Yelp reviews remain a powerful source of social proof for small businesses. Claiming your business on Yelp is a relatively painless process, but it has tremendous upside. Take the time to establish yourself, get reviews, and respond on Yelp. With a little bit of effort, you can build out a robust online presence that wins trust and drives sales.
Want more details about how your online listings are performing? Try our free business listings grader for instant insights.Amanda Rodhe
Other posts by Amanda Rodhe
Editor note: This post continues the conversation of small business’ experiences with Yelp after SEJ’s Matt Southern wrote about their pending legal issues.
Yelp is supposed to be the last bastion on the Web for honest reviews. It’s a place where consumers are allowed to honestly and thoughtfully discuss their experiences with a business, and help others find services that will be useful to them. The star system keeps reviews easy to read, and multiple users posting about a location seem to give the reviews some credibility.
But not all businesses are pleased with how Yelp presents their work.Yelp Says: “You Can’t Pay Us to Remove or Reorder Your Reviews.”
Yelp, for its part, says that they separate the content and revenue side of the business. They aren’t clear on what that means for businesses and end users, which is exactly the point.
At least that’s the implied message. Yelp writes that they do not accept payment to remove reviews in their FAQ, but several business owners have claimed that Yelp sales people use negative reviews to drive conversions. The pitch involves paying for more control over a page, using terms like “controlling ad space.”
Some, like 64-year-old Randy Boelsems, say that the sales people will continually harass a business owner with offers to move bad reviews and buy up ad real estate for more control over a Yelp page. This pressure is very real. Business owners like Joe Hadeed in Virginia have even tried to fake reviews to raise their positivity. He tried to sue Yelp to reveal the identities of the defamers of his business, and the courts eventually ruled in his favor.Solicitation And Sales Practices
Wall Street Journal reported that the Yelp receives roughly six subpoenas a month that request reviewer information. Many of these relate to businesses who feel they have been unfairly defamed, or poorly reviewed. When these owners pay for the privilege, Yelp is quick to help them establish a greater presence on the website, even selling ad space to them on competitor pages. If these owners cancel, Yelp is just as quick to push those good reviews into the “not recommended” category.
Yelp seems to be using their power as a database to force businesses into paying them. First, they recruit you without your consent. Then they mask your best reviews, effectively creating a pay-wall where business owners must pay out to retain some integrity.Some Changes at Yelp
Yelp has quietly made a few recent changes to its design, layout and verbiage. Back in November, the link to the filtered reviews, which appeared on the bottom of all reviews changed from “Filtered Reviews” to “other reviews that are not currently recommended.“
Last month Yelp also changed the layout to the review pages by showing scrollable images on top.Is Yelp Guilty of Abuse? A Possible Solution
If anyone from Yelp or other review sites should happen to read this, I do have some recommendations for them on how they could change things to keep their customers happy:
Display the full name of the poster, including their Facebook link, if they have chosen to link it.
Require cell phone authentication or some sort of other authentication to validate the reviewer’s identity.
Disclose the user’s identity, including email, IP address and any other data in the business owner’s dashboard or at least when a business owner requests it.
Provide an arbitration service for a small fee to resolve disputed reviews. The reviewer should have evidence such as a receipt or an agreement that they have been to the business or used their services. If not the review should be removed. The business owner should be able to submit documents to prove whether the review is false. This service may also be outsourced to a few authorized companies, such as attorneys or reputation management companies.
What are your thoughts on Yelp’s practices? How would you keep Yelp honest for businesses and reviewers?
Featured Image: Deposit Photos
Thanks to modern technology, we live in an era of unprecedented connectivity, real-time updates, and incredible amounts of data at our fingertips.
The irony is that despite access to reliable information, disinformation runs rampant.
And it’s not just flat-earthers, moon landing hoax believers, and tinfoil JFK conspiracy theorists.
There is a lot of seemingly credible information out there that, upon further inspection, turns out to be inaccurate, out of context, or flat-out false information.
The amount of fake news has grown at an incredible rate.
And as the purveyors of these fabrications and half-truths have grown increasingly media-savvy, it’s becoming harder to determine what’s real and what’s “fake news.”
This is a significant problem. Globally, 76% of people acknowledged worries about weaponizing false information or fake news – an all-time high.
Social media platforms have contributed to this, often serving as echo chambers in which these stories get much more exposure than they would ever have received in the pre-internet world.
And this, in turn, offers them a false sense of credibility.
While even the most intelligent people can be mistaken occasionally, maintaining a healthy degree of skepticism and evaluating the source of information can combat your vulnerability to misinformation.What Is Fake News?
In its research guide, the University of Michigan Library describes fake news as “those news stories that are false: the story itself is fabricated, with no verifiable facts, sources or quotes.
This separates fake news from misinformation, which is inaccurate information created or shared by mistake without the intention to deceive.
An example is the famous “Dewey Defeats Truman” headline from the Chicago Tribune.
On the other side is fake news or disinformation, which is intentionally false or misleading.
First Draft News, a nonprofit coalition created to fight false information online, identifies seven different types of mis- and dis-information:
Satire or parody – no harm is intended, but it has the potential to fool.
False connection – headlines, visuals, or captions that do not support the content and thus mislead the reader.
Misleading content – content is purposefully framed to portray a person or issue in a particular light.
False context – stories are presented with false or missing contextual information.
Imposter content – uses fabricated quotes or information from genuine sources.
Manipulated content – manipulated information or images meant to deceive.
Fabricated content – 100% false content intended to deceive and do harm.
These stories are increasingly dangerous in the digital age. Many people consume stories on social media without fact-checking or confirming that such headlines exist for a “shock” factor.
Once these stories are shared and popularized, people begin to believe them and accept them as the truth.Jokes And Satire Are Not Fake News
They are intelligent satire pieces intended to be humorous – not real – and their entire sites are based around their readers being knowledgeable about this strategy and theme.A Word On Mainstream News
According to the 2023 Trust Barometer, an annual survey of global trust and credibility by Edelman Data & Intelligence, 50% of people distrust the media, and 46% view it as a divisive force in society.
A 2023 Gallup poll found Americans’ trust is even lower than the international average, with only 36% expressing a fair amount of confidence in mainstream media.
This varies by political affiliation, with 68% of Democrats trusting major news sources, as compared to 31% of independents and just 11% of Republicans.
However, most mainstream news sources have to undergo editorial reviews. Readers recognize them as being prestigious forms of journalism.
The Weather Channel, PBS, the BBC, CBS, ABC, NBC, and the Wall Street Journal were among the most trusted across ideological groups.
However, of these, only the Weather Channel was viewed favorably by conservatives, who trust Fox News and Newsmax as reliable sources of information.How To Differentiate Between Fake News And Real News
While it’s not easy, there are some things you can do to help determine whether a story is real or fake.
Here are some tips to help you differentiate between fake news and real news stories:What Is The Site?
Most of the fake news sources that go for “shock” value and produce fake stories are not as recognized. Look into the source itself and see whether it is a website that you can trust.Check The Domain
Many fake news stories use URLs and domain names similar to reputable news sources to mimic them.
Just like you should never enter personal information into your bank’s website without first verifying it’s not a phishing site, you should double-check the URL of the news sites in social media posts.What Are The Authors’ Sources?
Good news stories contain links to other reputable reporting by respected organizations.
They contain interviews with individuals who can confirm or deny they made a claim. They are supported by evidence, dates, and other data that can be fact-checked.
Be wary of sources that cannot substantiate their claims.
Sometimes a source may sound reputable in a piece, only for you to later find out no such person exists.
For example, the satire site Snickersee published an article about the return of bottlenose dolphins to Lake Michigan.
If you were not familiar with the site, at first glance seemed legitimate, even going so far as to quote a scientist with the Great Lakes Fish and Water Quality Society.
However, no such scientist or organization exists, and dolphins have never lived in the Great Lakes.Fact Check!
When in doubt, fact-check the information that you read. You can start with a simple search using the keywords or the event that is being reported.
You can also use sites like PolitiFact, FactCheck, and Snopes – which are incredibly reputable fact-checking sites for various issues and topics (not just politics).Examine The Website Closely
It is essential not to look at one story alone but the full spectrum of details on the site.
Is there another fake-looking or shocking headline? What does the overall website look like? How is the user experience?
Sometimes doing a little further digging will make it evident if a news story is fake.
However, this can be tricky as many fake news sites intentionally mislead visitors. They may look like the real deal, all the way down to the logo in the masthead.
Just remember sites like chúng tôi or chúng tôi have teams of web professionals on staff, including UX and UI specialists.
A reputable site is unlikely to be slow-loading, clunky, and cumbersome to use.
Likewise, glaring spelling or grammar mistakes, while not impossible, do not usually make it through the proofing and editing process.Check Wikipedia
This may be surprising, but Wikipedia is an excellent source for identifying fake news sites.
It maintains an ever-growing list of fake news sites. This list includes sites like American News, which have created disinformation shared via social media, as well as satire sites and those used to spread malware.Fact Check With Google
To combat false information and aid fact-checkers, journalists, and researchers in their work, Google added Fact Check Tools to its toolbox in 2023.
This collection of more than 150,000 fact checks allows users to access information from “reputable publishers” around the world to ensure integrity.
To use this tool, enter a topic or person into the search bar.
Google will then pull information from its network of trusted publishers to give you at-a-glance fact-checking.
For example, despite rumors that Tesla CEO Elon Musk has invented a new digital currency, Google Fact Check is easily able to squash this.Put Technology To Work
There are several digital tools you can employ to combat fake news.
A list compiled by the RAND Corporation, an American global policy think tank, includes several digital tools for fighting online disinformation.
These include everything from browser extensions like BotSlayer, which helps track and detect information manipulated on Twitter, to verification and bias checking tools like NewsCheck Trust Index, to collections of resources that promote media literacy skills like NewseumED.Read Past The Headline
This practice is particularly problematic on social media platforms, where studies have shown up to 59% of people will share articles without reading past the headline.
In response, both Facebook and Twitter have implemented features that push users to read articles before sharing them in their feeds.Be Aware Of Your Own Biases
Everyone likes to feel smart. And everyone wants to have their opinions confirmed. That’s why some people will doggedly stick to their version of reality even in the face of overwhelming evidence that they’re wrong.
While you may not be that stubborn, everyone has implicit biases. And that’s why it’s imperative not to let what you want to believe override the facts.
Confirmation bias occurs when you put more stock into something that confirms what you already believe while minimizing information it doesn’t. Conservative-minded people trust right-leaning news sources, and liberals rely on liberal-minded platforms.Help Combat The Spread Of False News
As long as there has been news, there have been bogus stories.
But whereas a malicious actor spreading false information about Alexander the Great during the Siege of Tyre would only be able to influence a few thousand people, social media has created an environment in which anyone can spread disinformation globally, potentially to millions of people.
According to Avaaz’s global activism nonprofit study, the top 100 most popular false or misleading stories about the 2023 U.S. presidential election had 162 million views.
By contrast, there are only 168 million registered voters in the country.
The same Avaaz report stated that an October 2023 poll found roughly 91 million registered voters saw misinformation about mail-in voter fraud on Facebook. And 35% of registered voters believed this.
Fake news is a significant problem in the cyber age. And at the end of the day, it doesn’t boil down to beliefs or opinions. Facts don’t change, no matter what your views are. Water is still wet, and ice cream is still cold, even if it that inconvenient for some people.
And while social media platforms are attempting to uncover solutions to this issue, much of the burden will ultimately fall on you, the user.
But this makes it essential that each person does their part to combat the spread of fake news.
You should approach every news article, video, or social media post skeptically. Even if the originator is a reliable source of information, at the end of the day, they’re only human.
And that means, just like everyone else, they can fall victim to incorrect information, inaccurate statistics, or quotes taken out of context.
Do not share fake news on your social channels. Even if you’re only sharing it for its sheer outlandishness, you’re increasing its visibility, so don’t make this mistake.
If your friends or family members are sharing disinformation, message them and let them know. And be sure to mention how you identified it as fake.
Hopefully, this will help others identify it as false news and avoid sharing it further.
Everyone has to do their part, but if we all do our part, we can at least stem the tide of this unfortunate phenomenon.
OCZ Octane SSD reviews round-up
This week we’re seeing the fabulously powerful and relatively inexpensive OCZ Octane 1TB 2.5-inch SSD hit the review block, and what we’re seeing here is that the manufacturers have backed up their claims in more ways than one. Price per gigabyte on this device is lower than the competition while the strength its displaying in this first round of hands-on looks is showing it to be more than a contender in the benchmark department. Could this be your next solid state drive, dare we ask?
While the OSZ Octane has been promised to achieve read / write speeds of 560MB/s for reading and 400MB/s for writing, it appears that reviewers have found this to be not all that far off from the truth. Have a peek at the specifications in this new OCZ offering first, then see what the real deal is.
OCZ Octane Specs
128GB (OCT1-25SAT3-128G) $199.99 ($1.56/GB)
256GB (OCT1-25SAT3-256G) $369.99 ($1.45/GB)
512GB (OCT1-25SAT3-512G) $879.99 ($1.72/GB)
• 512GB Formatted Capacity: 476.94GB
• Indilinx Everest platform
• Up to 560MB/s Read (1TB Capacity)
• Up to 400MB/s Write (512GB and 1TB Capacity)
• 512MB Onboard Cache
• 25nm Intel Synchronous NAND
• TRIM Support
• SATA 6Gb/s interface
• NCQ Support up to 32 Queue Depth
• 9.5mm, 2.5″ form factor
• Dynamic & Static Wear-Leveling, and Background Garbage Collection
• 8 channels with up to 16-way Interleaving
• Power Consumption: 1.98W active, 1.15W standby
“The Octane comes packaged like many other SSD’s out there, with a few extra presents like the “My SSD is faster than your HDD” sticker seen with Vertex units. … 1TB – in a 2.5″ form factor SSD! HDD’s hit this mark not too long ago, and while a 1TB Octane will most certainly cost a pretty penny, there’s something to be said for SSD’s so rapidly catching up to HDD’s for a given form factor. … Octane did well in sequential transfers with HDTach, but remember this particular test hits drives with a string of sequential (QD=1) IO, a notorious weakness of SandForce controllers.” – Malventano
Next see what Kevin OBrien of Storage Review had to say on another synthetic benchmark test by the name of Iometer, with the single chart showing off a Workstation 4K model profile, with results below:
“Our last section of synthetic benchmarks looks at the performance of each drive in enterprise profiles, including database, webserver, file server, and workstation. One of the main benefits of this test over other synthetic benchmarks is the mixed workload with both read and write transfers as well as varied transfer sizes at the same time. These are also scaled from a queue depth of 1 to 128 to fully stress the drive in a demanding environment. As you can see below the OCZ Octane stayed close to the group in the lower queue depths, but couldn’t scale up as high under a multi-threaded workload; although it did manage to stay above the Crucial m4 in all but the webserver test.” – OBrien
Then of course no review series based mainly in benchmarks would be complete without a visit by Anandtech’s Anand Lal Shimpi himself. Check out Anand’s review for a rather in-depth and interesting story on the history of OCZ if you like, otherwise just read this snippet on how well the drive works with their heavy workload test:
“When put to the test the Octane does not disappoint. It’s within a couple MB/s of the SF-2281 based Vertex 3, and effectively one of the fastest 6Gbps drives on the market today. I included the old Indilinx Barefoot based Corsair Nova V128 to show just how far Indilinx has come here.” – Anand
Look like a winner to you?
Facebook recently announced it is making strides against fake news. It cited several studies that independently concluded Facebook has dramatically decreased the reach of fake news by high percentages. But percentages don’t tell the whole story.
Facebook has indeed made great strides, as you will see below. Yet when you look at the numbers instead of percentages, a study reveals that fake news engagement on Facebook as of July 2023 was 70 million per month.
What’s going on at Twitter is another story.
Since the 2023 US Election, Facebook has announced twelve spam crackdowns while Twitter only announced five. The research shows that Twitter’s fight is not going so well.
According to Facebook:
As these studies attest, we’ve invested heavily in our strategy to fight misinformation since the 2023 US elections. We continue to roll out updates that address some of the outstanding gaps mentioned in these studies.Methodology Lists of Fake News Sites
The study authors gathered lists of fake news sites as published by various sites and researchers, including the following:
European Research Council paperShare and Engagement Metrics
Facebook engagement and Twitter share metrics were collected from BuzzSumo.Comparison with Real News Sites
The researchers also compiled a list of legitimate news websites, as well as sites from the arts, business, sports and other niches.Results of Research Study
News sites displayed an upward trend on both Twitter and Facebook. The trend on Facebook is clearly because of the changes in the news feed to emphasize news, especially local news.Fake News Trends
Fake news sites increased on Facebook and Twitter leading up to he 2023 election. After the election, engagement rates plummeted by 50% on Facebook while Twitter shares kept rising.Facebook Engagement versus Twitter Shares
“Facebook engagements fell from a peak of roughly 200 million per month at the end of 2023 to roughly 70 million per month at the end of our sample period.
As a point of comparison, the 38 major news sites… including the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, CNN, Fox News, etc.—typically garner about 200-250 million Facebook engagements per month.”
As you can see, Facebook’s metrics for fighting fake news are superior to Twitter’s. However, as of the end of the study in July 2023, Facebook was still serving up 70 million engagements with fake news per month.
The reach of fake news on Facebook is equal to 35% of all legitimate news websites combined. That’s a staggering amount of fake news that is still circulating on Facebook.
Facebook has announced several more spam crackdowns that affected fake news sites since the release of this study. So the amount of fake news reaching Facebook members today is quite likely less than the 35% reported by this study.Is Making Strides Against Fake News Enough?
The results are clear. Facebook is making strides in the fight against fake news. Twitter is achieving less success and taking less actions taken against fake news.
Yet with 70 million people engaging with fake news as of July 2023, Facebook still has more battles to fight.
Read Facebook’s announcement here.
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