The following research article was published today by PLOS One.
PLoS ONE 14(8): e0220446
Commercially motivated junk news–i.e. money-driven, highly shareable clickbait with low journalistic production standards–constitutes a vast and largely unexplored news media ecosystem. Using publicly available Facebook data, we compared the reach of junk news on Facebook pages in the Netherlands to the reach of Dutch mainstream news on Facebook. During the period 2013–2017 the total number of user interactions with junk news significantly exceeded that with mainstream news. Over 5 Million of the 10 Million Dutch Facebook users have interacted with a junk news post at least once. Junk news Facebook pages also had a significantly stronger increase in the number of user interactions over time than mainstream news. Since the beginning of 2016 the average number of user interactions per junk news post has consistently exceeded the average number of user interactions per mainstream news post.
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