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Accessible Unlicensed Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter Mouton October 14, 2020

Information-sharing practices on Facebook during the 2017 French presidential campaign: An “unreliable information bubble” within the extreme right

Julien Figeac, Nikos Smyrnaios, Tristan Salord, Guillaume Cabanac, Ophélie Fraisier, Pierre Ratinaud and Fanny Seffusatti
From the journal Communications

Abstract

This research explores the spread of unreliable information on Facebook during the 2017 French presidential campaign. By analyzing information-sharing behavior on 252 Facebook pages, our study highlights the wide variety of information sources shared by several political communities, notably news published by partisan websites or activist blogs. Our results demonstrate that political parties – particularly, those on the extreme ends of the political spectrum – tend to re-share a large amount of information reflecting the same ideological positions as their own. This trend is amplified by a phenomenon of endo-citation, that is, a “circular circulation” of information between Facebook pages within the same political community. Our results focus on the information practices of the far-right, tracing a clear over-representation of sources that are unreliable or likely to relay disinformation. We argue that this circular transmission of information creates an “unreliable information bubble” that characterizes far-right information-sharing behavior.

Acknowledgement

The French National Research Agency generiously supported this research (The Listic project – ANR-16-CE26-0014-0).

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Published Online: 2020-10-14
Published in Print: 2020-11-18

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