More Than Half of All News Consumption On Facebook In America Is About the Coronavirus, Report Finds

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    The coronavirus has revived Facebook as a dominant news hub. According to an internal report by The New York Times, more than half of all news consumption on Facebook in America is about the virus. “Overall U.S. traffic from Facebook to other websites also increased by more than 50 percent last week from the week before, ‘almost entirely’ owing to intense interest in the virus,” adds The New York Times. From the report: The report, which was posted to Facebook’s internal network by Ranjan Subramanian, a data scientist at the company, was a lengthy analysis of what it called an “unprecedented increase in the consumption of news articles on Facebook” over the past several weeks. According to the report, more than 90 percent of the clicks to coronavirus content came from “Power News Consumers” and “Power News Discussers” — Facebook’s terms for users who read and comment on news stories much more frequently than the average user. The company is now considering several options for targeting those people with higher-quality information to make sure it is “being spread downstream.” The report shows that Facebook is closely monitoring people’s news habits during a critical period and actively trying to steer them toward authoritative sources in what amounts to a global, real-time experiment in news distribution. At times, Facebook itself seemed unsure which news sources users would turn to in a crisis, with Mr. Subramanian noting that “fortunately” many people were clicking on links from publishers that the company considers high-quality. Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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