Fake news has been spreading on Twitter ahead of France’s presidential election, according to a new study from Oxford University, though French users are generally sharing more high-quality information than Americans did ahead of the US election. The study’s findings, together with a separate report released earlier this week, come amid concerns that Russia may be seeking to meddle in upcoming European elections as it did in the US last year.
The study from the Oxford Internet Institute (OII), as first reported by Reuters, found that “junk news” reports accounted for 25 percent of all political links shared on Twitter in France, based on an analysis of more than 840,000 tweets posted during a week in March. The study defined junk news as reports that are false and which present “ideologically extreme, hyper-partisan or conspiratorial” viewpoints as facts. Most shared news stories concerned the centrist candidate Emmanuel Macron, who has led some opinion polls ahead of the first round of voting this Sunday, though the OII study says that “highly automated accounts” have at times spread stories about socialist candidate Benoît Hamon, as well.
Our French memo was covered by the Verge. Read the full story here.
Note: This post was originally published on the Political Bots research blog on . It might have been updated since then in its original location. The post gives the views of the author(s), and not necessarily the position of the Oxford Internet Institute.