Political content is on the decline on Facebook, according to latest ‘widely viewed content report’

It was… unexpected,

Today Meta released its latest Most viewed content report for Facebookcovering the third quarter of 2022, which for the first time is not riddled with data gaps due to some of the app’s most popular posts being later removed by Meta for breaking the rules of its platform.

Which is pretty much the opposite of the purpose of this report.

Meta initially offered its Highly Viewed Content Reportwhich displays the most viewed posts and links in the app, as a way to counter the narrative that its algorithms help amplify right-wing and extremist content – although so far it hasn’t really been successful to show that this is not necessarily the case.

But this time, in combination with Meta’s efforts to reduce political content in people’s Facebook feedsthe most shared and viewed content lists look a bit different, with a lot less political content in the mix.

So what are people on Facebook checking out?

Essentially, it’s a mix of supermarket tabloid trash: a teacher fired for dancing on TikTok, pictures of women who peaked in high school, Drake snapping pictures of a random lady at a restaurant, the son of Madonna as a fashion icon, Brad Pitt’s daughter go to college, renew fan theories about 1998 film ‘The Parent Trap’, vagina tattoos, Royals – again, the exact type of stuff you see on the front pages of those magazines next to the checkout.

Which is not surprising, given that Facebook is now mainly used by the elderly, while younger audiences are moving to TikTok instead. It seems these types of stories resonate more with older audiences, salacious gossip and relatable celebrity stories, which make people feel more connected to the stars.

Also, a story about putting peanuts in Coca-Cola:

Let the peanuts marinate in the Coke for a bit and you have a sweet and salty drink with a nice little snack at the end.

Yes, no thank you.

Again, I’m not sure the widely viewed content report really reflects what Meta originally intended, although this latest list does somehow suggest that politics isn’t as dominant in the app as it is. she used to be, based on her previous updates.

But then again, what this shows is that Facebook is rife with trash, with those top 20 links alone reaching over 200 million people through this app in Q3. Meta also has went to the effort to reduce the amount of spammy and “regrettable” engagement bait in the app, with previous listings also showing that scams were prevalent in its most-shared links. Those kinds of URLs aren’t present here either – so even if it’s garbage, at least it’s not harmful garbage, in a political or social sense.

What does this suggest to content marketers and those looking to maximize their reach on Facebook?

Probably not much, unless you find an angle for your promotions that relates to similar tabloid-style trends and celebrity gossip.

In terms of most viewed domains from Facebook referrals in Q3, YouTube remained at the top of the list:

Widely Viewed Meta Content Report

These main areas don’t really provide enough context for this to be useful, as people could watch anything on YouTube, while the second is shared GIFs, followed by Fundraisers, TikTok and Amazon.

Without additional insight into what, specifically, people are watching on each, this list isn’t much help – although I guess the point, from a Meta perspective, is that Fox News and the sites related are not as dominant as some earlier reports. suggested.

There is also this:

Widely Viewed Meta Content Report

A total of 15.2% of posts seen in users’ Facebook feeds came from Meta’s automated feed recommendations, which show users content from sources they don’t follow but might be interested in.

Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg previously noted that it will increase over timewith more and more content presented to users based on AI recommendations, not their own manually selected social or explicit graph.

This could be a good thing and could help Facebook generate more engagement, or it could put people off because they are faced with more random elements in the app.

Either way, right now it’s already a big deal – although it’s getting more people to spend more time on Facebook, we don’t know yet.

Overall, the main takeaway from this latest widely viewed content report is that political content appears to be less of a focus for Facebook users — or at least, it has less reach. It’s replaced with celebrity gossip and smut, but it’s still better than political polarization via the Facebook feed.

Also, AI recommendations are on the rise, and it will be interesting to see how much that increases in the Q2 Widely Viewed Content update.

You can check out Facebook’s widely viewed content report for the third quarter of 2022 here.

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