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What’s Trending? Shots, shots, shots (for almost everybody!)
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This piece was originally published in the November 19, 2021 edition of CAP Action’s weekly newsletter, What’s Trending? Subscribe to What’s Trending? here.

Hey, y’all.

From vaccine boosters to infrastructure, it’s been a big news week. Read on to learn how these topics and more are performing on political social media.

And in case you missed it, check out our latest edition of What’s Trending? here.

WHAT’S TRENDING THIS WEEK

WHAT WE’RE HEARING ON SOCIAL

After several weeks of conservatives outperforming progressives in our ranking, progressives took six of the top 10 posts of the past week on Facebook. Led by a Veterans’ Day photo post by President Obama, other top performers included two memes about Kyle Rittenhouse’s trial and a statement post by President Biden about support for his Build Back Better Act.

Top posts from conservatives include a photo carousel celebrating Veterans’ Day from Arnold Schwarzenegger, a link post about Kyle Rittenhouse’s trial from Ben Shapiro, and a link post from Dan Bongino about Florida ports.

This image features a bar chart comprised of the top political Facebook posts from November 11th to November 17th. It is organized by interactions by the hundred thousand. There is a color distinction between conservative and progressive posts. In order of the most interactions to the least, it goes Obama, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Ben Shapiro, the other 98%, The Other 98%, Dan Bongino, President Biden, The Other 98%, Biden, Biden, Breitbart, Breitbart, NRA, Bongino, Breitbart, Candance Owens,
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 4 and 11 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.

DEEP DIVE

Over the last 30 days, COVID-19 vaccines have remained one of the highest-volume topics of conversation on political Facebook, with more than 85,000 posts in this period. News about the administration’s booster roll-out and conservative anti-mandate attacks have been at the forefront. Conservative governors in several states have aimed to prevent vaccine and mask mandates, and they continue to be one of the favorite talking points for many conservative pages. More recently, President Biden announced plans to increase spending on vaccines in the hopes of producing 1 billion vaccine doses per year.

Despite near-constant conversation from pundits regarding inflation, the topic did not garner nearly as many interactions over the past week as you might think, trailing vaccines and infrastructure by a significant margin.

On November 17, however, Representative Paul Gosar began trending due to the House’s censure of him for sharing a violent, threatening video involving his colleague Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. While a censure may seem a symbolic gesture, the data shows that it sends an important message and can help shift the conversation online.

Climate conversation spiked considerably at the start of the COP26 summit in Glasgow earlier this month but tapered off quickly. As we’ve seen in the past with milestones like Earth Day, progressives can break through the noise on climate when major moments happen, but it’s tough to translate those events into sustained engagement.

Despite the Build Back Better Act’s potential to be the most significant climate investment in decades, the volume of interactions on Facebook for the topic continues to be relatively low.

The Bipartisan Infrastructure Deal, by contrast, saw multiple spikes upon its passage in Congress and President Biden’s recent signing of the bill, generating over 1.5 million interactions on both occasions, with half of the top ten posts coming from the Joe Biden or POTUS accounts. While there was some criticism of the policy from conservative pages, the tone was mostly positive. Time and time again, we have seen that the public responds most to legislation passing — let’s hope we can celebrate an even bigger win with the Senate passage of the Build Back Better Act soon.

Thanks for reading,

Alex

P.S. Please do forward this 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.

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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