40 Using Buzzsumo to Find Highly Viral Stories

If you are looking to hone your fact-checking skills, you may want to find highly viral stories. Your own Facebook and Twitter feeds are one good source for such stories, but sometimes you’ll want to get outside your filter bubble and see the stories that other folks are sharing.

There are a number of tools you can use to find highly viral stories. Buzzsumo is one simple to use option. Here’s how to find stories to investigate using it.

First, go to Buzzsumo.com.

Figure 106

Put in a search term, like “cancer.” Buzzsumo will return the most shared stories on the topic of cancer. You can filter them by recency. Here, we look at just stories in the past week.

Figure 107

Facebook engagements is not purely about shares–it encompasses other actions as well–but it is a good metric of how viral the story is.

The free version of Buzzsumo only lets you view the top results and limits the number of searches you can perform per day, but it’s often enough access to enable you to find an interesting story to fact-check.  I like this “Cancer Cure Genius Silenced by Medical Mafia” one–its inflammatory language is a good indicator that the claims in it are likely to be overstated.

Figure 108

If you are writing your claim analysis up for the Digital Polarization Initiative, make a note of the engagements, as they are often a good proxy for the influence of the story on the general public. Thirty thousand engagements on this story makes it one of the top cancer stories of the week and one well worth looking into.





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Web Literacy for Student Fact-Checkers Copyright © 2017 by Michael A. Caulfield is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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