Here at Daily Distortions, we try to debunk false and misleading information that has gone viral. We also want to give you a sense of how popular that misinformation is, in the overall context of what is being discussed on social media. Each Friday, we will feature a list of the 10 most-engaged stories of the week in the United States, as ranked by NewsWhip, a firm that compiles social media performance data. (NewsWhip tracks the number of reactions, shares and comments each story receives on Facebook, along with shares on Pinterest and by a group of influential users on Twitter.) This week’s data runs from 9:01 a.m. on Friday, Oct. 6, until 9 a.m. on Friday, Oct. 23.
This week, as the presidential election approached, the most viral news on social media was, surprisingly, not directly related to the election.
Of the 10 most-engaged stories on our list this week, only three — two Fox News stories and a MSNBC story — were directly linked to the candidates. Two other stories that got lots of engagement were Pope Francis’ support for same-sex civil unions and the revelation that the parents of 545 children who had been separated from their families under the Trump administration’s family separation policy were unable to be found.
Here’s the full list:
1. NBC News: Lawyers say they can’t find the parents of 545 migrant children separated by Trump administration (2,702,695 interactions)
2. NBC News: Pope Francis calls for civil union laws for same-sex couples (1,008,956 interactions)
3. New York Times: Pope Francis, in Shift for Church, Voices Support for Same-Sex Civil Unions (870,066 interactions)
4. NPR: Parents Of 545 Children Separated At U.S.-Mexico Border Still Can’t Be Found (818,591 interactions)
5. CNN: Purdue Pharma to plead guilty to federal criminal charges related to opioid crisis (798,605 interactions)
6. Fox News: Source on alleged Hunter Biden email chain verifies messages about Chinese investment firm (709,918 interactions)
7. Fox News: 50 Cent says ‘vote for Trump’ in light of Biden’s tax plan: ‘IM OUT’ (695,310 interactions)
8. NBC News: Texas social workers can now turn away LGBTQ, disabled clients (650,672 interactions)
9. MSNBC: Admiral from bin Laden raid endorses Biden in dramatic fashion (627,050 interactions)
10. ComicBook.com: Michael B. Jordan to Produce Static Shock Movie for DC Comics (520,266 interactions)