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This piece was originally published in the May 5, 2021 edition of CAP Action’s weekly newsletter, What’s Trending? Subscribe to What’s Trending? here.

Hey, y’all.

This morning, the Facebook Oversight Board announced that it would uphold the company’s decision to restrict Donald Trump’s access to posting on his Facebook and Instagram accounts; however, it did not necessarily advocate a lifetime ban, instead kicking the decision back to Facebook and recommending that the company establish transparent rules for offenses by influential users and determine a “proportionate” response consistent with those rules by November.

Now, let’s take just a minute to reflect on Trump’s “offense”: He helped incite a deadly attack on the Capitol after months of incendiary, false statements about the 2020 election results. As for his influence, it’s unmatched in American politics.

As Shit You Should Care About so aptly put it:

Source: @shityoushouldcareabout on Instagram

Facebook is unquestionably one of the most powerful media and organizing platforms in the world. That’s why it’s so important that the company do everything in its power to stop hateful activities and disinformation. And that’s why Facebook must immediately make Trump’s indefinite suspension permanent by disabling his page and account.

WHAT’S TRENDING THIS WEEK

  • The American Families Plan: In his first joint address before Congress last week, President Biden unveiled the American Families Plan. The plan makes a historic investment in kids, families, and America’s economic future with an expansion of the child tax credit, tuition-free community college, universal pre-K, and paid family and medical leave.
  • 100 days: Thursday, April 29 marked Joe Biden’s 100th day as President. In 100 days, the Biden-Harris administration delivered swift and bold action on climate change, administered 220 million coronavirus shots in arms, distributed 160 million relief checks to Americans’ pockets, and helped create 1.3 million jobs.

WHAT WE’RE HEARING ON SOCIAL

100 days: President Biden addressed Congress last Wednesday, presenting an optimistic vision for the country and calling for bold action to address the coronavirus pandemic and subsequent economic recovery. While these types of speeches typically dominate the news cycle, that was not the case on Facebook.

Only four of the top 10 posts by progressive pages were about Biden’s speech or the 100 days milestone, while the top 10 posts by conservative pages were focused on inflaming racism and transphobia by posting content criticizing critical race theory and trans kids playing sports.

Top 20 best-performing political Facebook posts by interactions according to data from NewsWhip.

This week’s top-performing political Facebook post by interactions was from President Biden’s campaign account, and six of the top 10 posts were from accounts on the left. This is a reversal of the usual trend we see of conservatives outperforming progressives in the top 10.

Top 10 best-performing political Facebook posts on the left and right for the weeks of April 21 and April 28 by interactions according to data from NewsWhip.
Top ten Facebook posts from progressive pages over the last week, according to data from NewsWhip.
Top ten Facebook posts from conservative pages over the last week, according to data from NewsWhip.

President Biden’s Facebook accounts dominated the top 10 this week. Progressive posts about the events outperformed even the top 10 posts by conservative pages overall by about 100,000 interactions, and when we isolate performance to posts about the joint address or 100 days, progressive posts about the milestones received more than 1.5 million more interactions than those from conservatives.

Comparison of best-performing Facebook posts from progressive pages about President Biden’s Joint Address vs. the top posts from conservatives by interactions according to data from NewsWhip.
Best-performing political Facebook posts from progressives and conservatives about President Biden’s Joint Address by interactions according to data from NewsWhip.

Many progressive organizations, including the White House, marked the occasion by publishing highly produced videos celebrating the administration’s accomplishments; however, when our team analyzed the interactions received by post type, CAP Action found that videos drive disproportionately far fewer interactions than non-video posts.

Number of interactions by media format for major progressive Facebook pages according to data from NewsWhip.

On average, these post formats tend to drive the most interactions. Organizations looking to optimize the performance of progressive content on Facebook should definitely consider working more status updates and images into their content mixes:

Thanks for reading,

Alex

P.S. Please do forward along to your friends who are interested or encourage them to sign up here.

This newsletter is written by me, Alex Witt (@alexandriajwitt), a progressive political strategist and Dolly Parton enthusiast (she/her). I’ve managed social media programs for presidential candidates, political committees, progressive advocacy organizations, and more.

The positions of American Progress, and our policy experts, are independent, and the findings and conclusions presented are those of American Progress alone. A full list of supporters is available here. American Progress would like to acknowledge the many generous supporters who make our work possible.

Authors

Alex Witt

Senior Director, Strategic Partnerships

Explore The Series

Welcome to “What's Trending?”, a weekly newsletter to help progressives answer the age-old questions: What works, and what doesn't? “What's Trending?” cuts through the noise to bring you the best (and worst) of what's happening on social media in the policy space, and explains why it's important.

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