What’s Trending? COVID, the economy, and abortion

Part of a Series

Hey, y’all.

I don’t think I’m alone in saying the week after a holiday always feels a little bit longer and harder. This week was no exception. With the emergence of the Omicron COVID-19 variant and Supreme Court oral arguments over a Mississippi abortion restriction law, the last few days have been especially tough.

This week, we’ll examine how those topics and more performed across political Facebook.

But first, in case you missed it, check out our November 19 edition of What’s Trending?


  • COVID-19: Omicron, a new variant of COVID-19, has been detected with identified cases in 20 countries so far — including the U.S. The CDC advises that vaccinations, and booster shots for those eligible, are still the best way to protect against infection. 71% of U.S. adults are now fully vaccinated, 83% have received at least one dose, and 23% have received booster shots.


Progressives and conservatives evenly split the top 20 Facebook posts for the past week, with ten posts each.

Top progressive posts included Hannakuh and Thanksgiving photos from Barack Obama and a screenshot from the Other 98% celebrating President Biden.

Top conservative posts included a tweet screenshot from Candance Owens spreading disinformation about the Omicron variant, an anti-LeBron James (and pro-Kyle Rittenhouse) link post from Dan Bongino, and … this … pro-Trump video from For America.

Top 20 best-performing political Facebook posts by interactions, according to data from NewsWhip.
Top 10 best-performing political Facebook posts on the left and right for the weeks of November 18 and 25 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.


Over the past year, the two most consistent topics trending on Facebook have been the coronavirus pandemic and the economy, and the last two weeks largely continue that trend. In the span of a few days, the Omicron variant went from unheard of to one of the most dominant topics of conversation online, reaching 2 million interactions a day. At the same time, there was also an uptick in conversation about vaccines. These were partially in response to the new variant, but also driven by conservatives celebrating their wins in judicial challenges to the Biden administration’s mandates.

On the economic side, the Build Back Better Act briefly rose to the top of the conversation after its passage by the House on November 19. Inflation saw an increased volume of engagement on the 23rd as President Biden released 50 million barrels of oil from the strategic reserve to help bring down gas costs. Posts about supply chain difficulties, on the other hand, have received relatively little engagement over the past two weeks, and somewhat surprisingly, most of the top posts were positive — highlighting how President Biden is fixing the supply chain.

Total Facebook interactions for posts referencing topic keywords, according to data from NewsWhip (U.S. pages only)

Finally, this week’s other major topic that sparked a massive increase in interactions on Facebook was the Supreme Court’s hearing of Mississippi’s challenge to abortion rights and Roe v. Wade. Posts from both progressives and conservatives about abortion rights quickly outstripped both the Omicron and vaccine topics on Wednesday. We expect this case to almost certainly stay at the front of the conversation for weeks to come as the Supreme Court makes its decision.

Thanks for reading,


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 staffer and Dolly Parton enthusiast (she/her), and CAP Action’s fantastic team of designers, data analysts, and email strategists.

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.


Alex Witt

Senior Director, Strategic Partnerships

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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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