As the country was reacting to the outcome of the 2016 Presidential election, concerns soared about the problems of misinformation or so-called “Fake News” spreading across social media. To understand the scale and shape of a problem that was incredibly opaque, we began intensive research to collect and analyze the sources of this misinformation.
First developed by PBS for internal use, NewsTracker is a tool that identifies Facebook pages that traffic in misinformation and tracks how often the content there is liked, shared, and on commented on. Reporters use this tool to find patterns and trends that may merit reporting. The tool will have a new home soon: the Shorenstein Center at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government, where it can gain wider testing and use.