18 April, 2024

Disinformation actors spreading 1.5bilion fake news posts each day....

  • Facebook users create the highest level of daily disinformation posts (1 billion posts)
  • X has the highest proportion of disinformation actors (8.7% of all active users) 
  • LinkedIn has the most rampant disinformation actors (each creating 6.6 posts per day) 
  • Instagram and YouTube produce the least amount of daily disinformation 

ID Crypt Global has analysed data from Code of Practice on Disinformation report from TrustLab to understand the rate at which disinformation is being spread through the six main social media platforms - Instagram, Facebook, X, LinkedIn, TikTok, and YouTube - before conducting its own analysis estimating how many disinformation posts are being created each day, and which platforms are most responsible for the spread of fake news and media. 

The most recent available data* estimates that there are an estimated total of 10.5 billion social media users across the six main platforms.

Facebook boasts the most users with 3 billion people logging onto the platform each month. Facebook is followed by YouTube (2.5bn), Instagram (2bn), TikTok (1.5bn), LinkedIn (771m), and X (619m). 

1.5bn fake news posts created or shared every day on social media

Across all platforms, it is estimated that 5% of users are disinformation actors, which means all in all, there are 516 million users actively spreading fake news and media. 

It is estimated that each disinformation actor creates an average of 3.9 posts per day, meaning that across all platforms, 1.5 billion pieces of disinformation are created or shared every single day. 

Facebook and X host highest volume of disinformation content

ID Crypt’s research reveals that Facebook creates the most pieces of fake news. 

It is estimated that disinformation actors account for 7.8% of all of the platform’s users and that each of them creates an average of 4.3 daily posts. This means Facebook alone is responsible for over one billion fake news posts every single day. 

When it comes to the highest proportion of users being disinformation actors, X is the worst platform.  

8.7% of all X users are disinformation actors and each of them is creating 3.8 daily posts. This means the hugely influential platform is spreading 205 million fake news posts every single day. 

LinkedIn home to the highest number of disinformation users

But while Facebook and Twitter disinformation are creating the highest volume of disinformation, neither platform is home to the most rampant disinformation actors. Instead, that dubious honour goes to the rather unlikely source of LinkedIn, the social media platform supposedly reserved for business and professional networking purposes. 

Disinformation actors account for just 1.9% of LinkedIn’s 771m users, but each of them is creating an average of 6.6 posts per day, higher than any other platform. It means that, between its 15 million disinformation actors, there are an astonishing 97 million pieces of disinformation created or shared every single day. 

Instagram and Youtube most trustworthy platforms

Instagram performs relatively well among the leading social media platforms when it comes to transparency and trustworthiness. It has 2 billion users, 5.2% of which are disinformation actors. But each of these accounts shares an average of just 0.9 daily posts which means the platform as a whole is creating a relatively small total of 94 million fake news posts per day.

However, YouTube remains the least troublesome platform. With 2.5 billion monthly users, it is more populated than Instagram, but only 0.8% of them are disinformation actors. Each of these accounts posts, on average, 3.9 times a day which creates a total number of 78 million daily disinformation posts, the lowest among all platforms. 

Who knows when it comes to TikTok?

There is a significant caveat to this research: the data available about TikTok is sparse - likely due to it being a Chinese company and the fact that China is protective when it comes to sharing accurate user data. 

As such, we know that the platform has around 1.5 billion monthly users and that 5.5% of them are disinformation actors. But what we do not know is how often these actors are posting on the platform which means we cannot estimate how many pieces of fake news or false media are being spread every day. 

CEO and Founder of ID Crypt Global, Lauren Wilson-Smith, commented:   “The rate at which social media creates disinformation is terrifying. We’re looking at more than 1.5 billion daily posts, each and every one specifically designed to indoctrinate the viewer’s mind into believing false news or supporting a false narrative. Such posts can range from deepfake images and videos, through to news articles based on nothing but incorrect information and spurious lies. 

“The owners of social media platforms face a daunting task that nobody envies, but it’s clear they still need to be doing more to make it harder for disinformation to spread so widely that it becomes widely regarded as fact, quickly travelling out of social media and into the real world with devastating impact. 

“The platforms need assistance from both governments and private companies, and with regards to the latter, we are proud to be doing our part by creating a image verification tool that enables news and picture agencies to put put a digital stamp of verification on all of their images so that if they are ever doctored and reposted, anyone that goes on to view that image will be instantly notified that it is not the original image and therefore its contents cannot be trusted.”

Data tables and sources

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