Study: Twitter users shared more 'junk news' than real stories during the 2016 election

Study: Twitter users shared more 'junk news' than real stories during the 2016 election
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During the height of the 2016 presidential race, Twitter users shared more “misinformation, polarizing and conspiratorial content” than actual news stories, an Oxford University study released Thursday says.

Researchers found that voters on Twitter shared large amounts of content linked to Russia, WikiLeaks and other “junk news sources,” with the help of bots — automated Twitter accounts, programmed to simple tasks like spread news.

The study also found that levels of misinformation on Twitter were higher on average in swing states than in uncontested states. Researchers culled the information from 22,117,221 tweets collected between Nov. 1 and Nov. 11.

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The findings come as federal investigators press major technology firms, including Twitter and Facebook, for more details on how Russian actors used their platforms to potentially influence the 2016 presidential election.

On Thursday, Twitter briefed Senate and House Intelligence committee members and staff on its findings in regard to foreign actors using the platform during the elections. The social media company revealed 201 accounts it found that were linked to Russian actors.

The Senate Intelligence Committee’s top Democrat, Sen. Mark WarnerMark Robert WarnerTech beefs up lobbying amid Russia scrutiny Overnight Tech: Senate Dems want FCC chief recused from Sinclair merger | Tech rallies on Capitol Hill for DACA | Facebook beefs up lobbying ranks Facebook adds two lobbyists amid Russia probe MORE (Va.), ripped Twitter after the company shared its analysis with the committee.

“Their response was frankly inadequate on almost every level,” he said after the briefings.

Warner has also criticized Facebook’s response to the matter. The Senate Intelligence Committee has invited both companies, as well as Google, to testify over Russian election interference on their platforms on Nov. 1.

The Virginia Democrat says he is considering subpoenaing the company representatives to attend the hearing.

The House Intelligence Committee will hold a separate hearing on the matter and would like Google, Twitter and Facebook to appear as well.