Inside Facebook’s debut content report
Facebook’s content report offers insight into the social media giant’s most popular posts, for the first time.
The new “widely viewed content report” made its debut, revealing the most popular content on its platform during the second quarter of 2021 in the United States.
The report documented lists of top-performing domains, pages and specific public posts using data from Facebook’s own analytics tool CrowdTangle. The top domains included YouTube, Amazon, Unicef, GoFundMe, Spotify and TikTok. Among the most widely-viewed links were surprisingly a website for an organization associated with former Green Bay Packers football players which drew than 87 million viewers. This was followed by CBD shop with 72 million views.
Facebook also revealed that “Many of the most-viewed Pages focused on sharing content about pets, cooking, family, and relatable viral content.” These included Unicef, as well as animal site The Dodo, LADbible, and Sassy Media and other publishers that have built media companies off of viral Facebook content.
While surprisingly the most-viewed individual posts were all a collection of interactive text-based memes asking users what foods they don’t like. The most popular of which with more than 80 million views, including a letter scramble asking users to pick out the first three words they see.
The debut of the new data set comes after Facebook faced intense media scrutiny following accusations of spreading Russian disinformation and violent far-right militias. Notably, however, many critics have called into question the report’s reliability as it only assessed public posts, failing to include data around posts that may have used non-public privacy settings. The report also did not include clips from Facebook Watch, listings on Facebook Marketplace or any ads.
The social media giant noted that the top-performing posts don’t “include content which has been subsequently taken down by the original content creator or by Facebook, or whose audience has changed.”
Last year, in the months leading up to the US election the pages that got the most interactions were dominated by far-right figures like Dan Bongino and Dinesh D’Souza, as well as sites like Newsmax. Facebook however has argued that the engagement metric does not represent the top content on the platform.
“The content that’s seen by the most people isn’t necessarily the content that also gets the most engagement,” Facebook wrote
In a call with reporters, Facebook’s VP of Integrity, Guy Rosen, noted that “there are a few gaps in the data that’s being used today, and the narrative that has emerged is quite simply wrong.”
“CrowdTangle is focused on interaction. CrowdTangle only has a limited set of certain pages, groups, and accounts,” he went on. “We are creating a report that provides a broad view and […] an accurate representation of what people’s experiences actually are on our platform.”
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