Social Media

More Facebook users engaged with top fake election news than most popular real reporting, report says

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Fake stories generated more engagement on Facebook than real, mainstream news among top election-related articles, according to data analyzed by BuzzFeed News.

In the last three months of the presidential campaigns, top-performing false headlines from hoax sites and hyperpartisan blogs generated more than 8.7 million shares, reactions and comments, BuzzFeed News estimated. That's compared to nearly 7.4 million shares, reactions and Facebook comments on the 20 best-performing news stories from mainstream websites, according to BuzzFeed's Craig Silverman.

"It may seem like the top stories get a lot of traction, but they represent a tiny fraction of the total," a company spokesperson told BuzzFeed. CNBC has reached out to Facebook for comment.

Fake news that Hillary Clinton sold weapons to terror group ISIS, and that the Pope endorsed Donald Trump, were the top false stories, BuzzFeed said. One fake news site, Ending the Fed, got more engagement on its top viral news than the best-performing content from the Washington Post and The New York Times, BuzzFeed News found.

BuzzFeed's report comes after Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has bucked accusations that viral content swayed the election, writing, "Of all the content on Facebook, more than 99 percent of what people see is authentic."

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