The Right Isn't the King of the Facebook Hill as Leftists Claim

AP featured image
FILE – This July 16, 2013 file photo shows a sign at Facebook headquarters in Menlo Park, Calif. Facebook and other social platforms have been waging a fight against online misinformation and hate speech for two years. With the U.S. midterm elections coming soon on Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2018, there are signs that they’re making some headway, although they’re still a long way from winning the war. (AP Photo/Ben Margot, File)

The ongoing narrative about conservatives being the dominant ideology on Facebook has been a key talking point for many a leftist for some time, even to the point where many politicians use it as a way to justify coming down on Facebook for various bits of wrongdoing.

The Daily Wire recently took a look at the numbers and proved, without a doubt, that this narrative isn’t remotely true. It started by quoting NewsShip, which posted the top engagements from news sites. At the top of the list stood the Daily Wire.

In its August report on Facebook engagements, NewsWhip announced that The Daily Wire had, for the second month in a row, taken the top spot for total engagements, amassing 104.9 million engagements over the course of the month. The other “striking” news for the month was that two other explicitly conservative sites, The Blaze and Breitbart, both made it into the top 10.

But the Daily Wire expanded the list a bit from the top ten to the top 25 and found some interesting numbers about conservative interaction:

Add up all of the engagements of the three conservative sites and you find that they collectively racked up 187.8 million engagements over the course of the month, which is just under a third (32%) of the 587.8 million total engagements among the top 10.

If you expand the list to the top 25 news publishers for August, you’ll find just three more self-styled conservative sites: Western Journal, CNS News, and Conservative Opinion. The total engagements represented by that group of six: 257.4 million engagements. That gives explicitly conservative sites just 27% of the total engagements of the top 25.

Even if you add in right-of-center but not explicitly conservative outlets — Fox News, Daily Mail, and the New York Post — you’ll find that right-leaning sites account for less than half (45%) of engagements produced by Facebook’s top 25 sites.

Less than a third is hardly “domination,” and 45% representation for right-of-center sites seems about right for a country in which about that percentage regularly vote Republican.

As the Daily Wire notes, this isn’t domination. Adding in other right-leaning sites only gives you eight out of the top 25. The rest are leftist sites.

But that’s not necessarily the worst part.

Engagements are all well and good but at the end of the day, what really matters is the amount of “reach” or how many times a site is seen by people on the social media platform. In terms of reach, conservative site’s numbers are abysmally low:

There, too, the left-leaning and mainstream media outlets outperform conservative sites, a point highlighted by Facebook’s head of News Feed John Hegeman in July. In response to one of The New York Times’ tech columnist Kevin Roose’s steady stream of Facebook-themed tweets highlighting the platform’s engagement data, Hegeman suggested that what Roose and others are missing is that even though conservatives do well in the engagement metric, the mainstream outlets enjoy a far broader reach.

What this means is pretty obvious.

Social media sites are by and large controlled by leftists. While right-leaning sites get good engagements, it’s likely that’s because many on the social media site have to go actively looking for the articles posted by them. Unlike left-leaning news sites that just pop up into your feed, users have to go to pages like “RedState’s” in order to actually get to the posted article.

The idea that conservative media rules on Facebook are absolute bunk. There is an obvious bias that is restricting the flow of information from conservative sources. Unless you go sifting through Facebook yourself, you’re not likely to find the content you’re looking for.



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