Facebook has released a new report that compiles the most popular postings on the network, in response to critics who claim the corporation is intentionally keeping top-performing content hidden. Every three months, Facebook will provide its new “widely viewed content reports,” which will reflect the most popular top News Feed postings in the United States.
- Accusations: Facebook intends to counter accusations that its algorithms work in a black box with the new data set. However, like its frequently erroneous blogging rebuttals and other sets of cherry-picked data, the company’s latest transparency gesture is better than nothing, but not particularly useful.
- New data: According to the new data, 87 percent of posts seen in the United States during the second quarter of this year did not include an external link. That’s interesting, but not particularly telling, because Facebook still has a huge number of users posting and viewing links on a daily basis.
- Content viewer: YouTube is the top domain expected by Facebook’s selected “content viewer” metric. It is defined as the account that viewed the content in the news feed, but it does not provide detailed data that could be useful. Amazon, Gofundme, TikTok, and more are in the top ten, so it’s no surprise.
- Engagement: By the metric of engagement, Facebook’s list of top-performing posts in the U.S. are regularly dominated by far-right personalities and sites like Newsmax, which pushes election conspiracies that Facebook would prefer to distance itself from.
- Interactions: The company argues that Facebook posts with the most interactions don’t accurately represent the top content on the platform. Facebook insists that reach data, which measures how many people see a given post, is a superior metric, but there’s no reason that engagement data isn’t just as relevant if not more so.