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Disinformation is part and parcel of social media’s business model, new research shows


  • The digital advertising market, valued at €625 billion ($681.57 billion USD), is driven by a business model that rewards engagement, leading to a financial incentive for social media platforms to maximize user interaction.
  • Social media platforms, initially designed for entertainment, now prioritize content evoking strong emotions (positive or negative) as it tends to go viral, contributing to the spread of disinformation.
  • Brands engaging in digital marketing, often unaware of where their ads are placed, can unintentionally fund disinformation, emphasizing the need for reform in the digital advertising market to address its role in promoting deceptive content.

Discussion (2)

firesquid profile image
Jeremy Beckler

Sadly, this doesn't come as a surprise. Its disheartening to see how the digital advertising industry, driven by engagement metrics, ends up inadvertently supporting disinformation.

The business model prioritizes clicks and views over content accuracy, and its concerning that platforms and advertisers are well aware of the consequences. The focus on emotions and tribalism only exacerbates the issue. It's time for a serious reevaluation of the digital advertising market, with more accountability and responsibility from brands and platforms.

crissfuture profile image
Criss F

Absolutely agree. The speed at which misinformation spreads on these platforms is alarming. By the time a piece of disinformation is 'identified' and taken down, it has often reached a massive audience, and the damage is already done.