Data You Need to Know About Fake News

Updated on: January 9, 2024
"It took the truth about six times as long as the falsehood to reach 1,500 people."

 In adtech, fake news topics have stirred more than enough controversies and confusions a while ago. But, why we’re highlighting it now? It’s not just us. Even, IAB listed “fake news in adtech” is still a headache and our industry needs to continue the fight. Hence, we’ve compiled a few interesting data about fake news for adtech vendors and publishers. 

Probably, you don’t want to hear yet another story on ‘fake news’. Starting from Presidential Elections to Personal Shopping, it has its roots deepened and influenced (almost) all of us in some ways.

While there are many Government organizations and Companies taking steps to prevent the spreading of fake news (Google recently launched a new initiative GNI, to fight fake news), Social Media and Open web neutralizes the efforts.

We don’t spread ‘Fake News’, right?

How about a surprising fact?

The fake news needs both Humans and machines for spreading and reaching millions of people. A study shows fake news was retweeted more often than the facts. And, other Social Media platforms play a part in fake news creation and distribution too.

“It took the truth about six times as long as the falsehood to reach 1,500 people.”

A team led by Sinan Aral of MIT published in Journal Science that “Falsehood diffused significantly farther, faster, deeper, and more broadly than the truth in all categories of information, and the effects were more pronounced for false political news than for false news about terrorism, natural disasters, science, urban legends, or financial information”

The research team also found that the retweeting/sharing wasn’t done by any bots. All retweeted by verified users like us. To understand the motive behind the spread and what caused falsehood to gain momentum, the team deepened the research.

“People who share novel information are seen as being in the know and that’s what driving the conversation and sharing”, said Aral.

“We reach millions” – Bots

Filippo Menczer of Indiana University and colleagues argued that “there are 60 million “bots” to post automatic updates on Facebook and up to 48 million are on Twitter”.

Then, there’s AI:

Sophistication and development of technologies aren’t just restricted to Medicine, Cars, and Rockets. And, especially AI has been applied to many fields to optimize deliverability of the end-product/service.

‘Fake News’ will soon join the club. Sean Gourley, Founder and CEO of Primer, a data mining and report generating AI Company, told EmTech ‘the upcoming generation of fake news will be far more sophisticated thanks to AI’.

“All we’ve seen at the moment is primitive, and it’s had a profound impact, and more is coming,” he said.

Recently, in an interview Mark Zuckerberg said that Facebook is going to use AI to spot fake news and eliminate it. Sean said the AI could be applied to the creation and spreading of fake news too.

AI can be used to create fake reports custom-tailored to a particular user based on their interest, recent activity on the web, and sympathies. And, the numbers can be increased to millions easily.

What’s the solution?

Almost everyone working in AI believes, ‘it will be a part of the solution to fight fake news’. If AI is going to spread fake news, obviously, AI will be a viable opponent. With all the tech moguls fighting on the right side, we may expect to win the battle.

Reportedly, AI has been deployed to combat fake news using methods like Scoring Web Pages (based on the accuracy of the facts presented), Predicting Reputation, Weighing Facts, etc..

First Draft News, a French media company said they were opening a new fact-checking service called CrossCheck to identify and debunk fake information. CrossCheck will use a variety of tools to successfully recognize and de-rank fake information, according to the report.

EU has begun investing in a technology called Pheme, which aims to understand the question of veracity and identify whether the rumors on Social Media are true.

Even with all the technologies and algorithms, publishers are still expected to contribute. There are a bunch of Chrome extensions and tools which let you recognize the fake information easily. Also, websites like, Snopes, IFLA’s can help you discern the rumors from the facts.  

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