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Social media (and Facebook in particular) have been fiercely criticized for participating to the propagation of misinformation. A certain number of studies have studied information cascades in social media but a more comprehensive and synthetic description of the type of media outlets and the type of news stories that are preferentially discussed on Facebook is still lacking. Traditional media may have lost its privilege as agenda-setters on social networks. However this project aims at measuring the extent to which conversations on Facebook are disconnected from the media agenda in the open web.

Objective and methodology

“I read it on facebook” aims to produce innovative insights about the circulation of news on Facebook, and more about the structure of the digital space at large. We will systematically compare data as captured by the mediacloud platform and the estimated audience of each story with its popularity on Facebook. As such, “I read it on Facebook” is closely related to the larger project of unveiling the structure of the digital public space. Facebook URL Shares dataset will offer the opportunity to understand which news outlets are capturing the attention of the general public and which kind of news story is likely to get viral in this conversational space.


“I read it on Facebook” has been selected by SSRC as part of the first cohort of Social Media and Democracy Research grants. The grant, in partnership with Social Science One is including an access to the URL share dataset and the Crowdtangle api.