Facebook Published A Content Report For Q3 2021, Detailing What Content Gets Traction

Facebook recently published a content report for Q3 2021, displaying what content gets the most attention.

Content creation on Facebook's doing relatively well for itself. Generated ad revenue may not match the likes of TikTok or YouTube, but Facebook, and Meta as a whole, are doing pretty good on this front. Long gone are the early days, where Facebook falsely reported advertiser counts, drowning many a content creator in the process. Creation on the platform flourishes, and Devs naturally want it to keep flourishing. Therefore, publishing content reports, displaying what gains traction on the platform and what doesn't is a move where everybody wins.

Of course, when much of the content that gains traction on your platform jacked up conspiracy theories and political strife, then what does one do? Well, exactly what they did before: incorrectly report facts and figures, or at least twist them around. In August, Facebook posted its Widely Viewed Content figures, which gave the most bare bones depiction of the sort of content that users engage with. For example, according to the figures, the most viewed content comes through posts from friends and people that a user follows. That, of course, doesn't even try to paint a picture of what content works or doesn't work on Facebook. NYT journalist Kevin Roose published a list of accounts responsible for the top ten posts in a 24 hour period. The names included Ben Shapiro at 4th and 10th place, which is both amusing as well as horrifying. While important accounts such as UNICEF made it onto the list as well, other posts by Occupy Democrats show up much more frequently. Clearly, Facebook's far right tendencies (or in the case of Shapiro, crackpot tendencies) aren't particularly well hidden.
Another fun cover up comes in the form of Facebook trying to hide how well anti-vaccination rhetoric does. Content views with no attached links do the best, followed by content with links excluding major news domains, and content with links from reputable sources is last, but also does so badly that the attached pie chart makes no effort to make the metric visible. Naturally, one can see the picture this paints. Reputable content does terribly, and ramblings with no attached, or even worse, incorrect, sources keep doing well. Naturally, Facebook wants this to be hidden, and therefore lumps content with no links with other generic posts on the platform as a whole.

Facebook is in a bad spot. With Congress breathing down its neck over harmful content running rampant on the platform, with data provided by whistleblower Frances Haugen only further supplementing the claims, such posts need to be presented in a filtered manner.

Read next: Detailed Figures Have Been Revealed On Just How Prevalent Bullying Is Across Meta's Owned Online Platforms
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