Introducing the Widely Viewed Content Report

Anna Stepanov, Director, Product Management

Today, we’re releasing the first in a series of reports that will give an overview of the most widely viewed content in News Feed, starting with domains, links, Pages and posts in the US. The Widely Viewed Content Report will be updated quarterly in the Transparency Center and will be released in conjunction with each quarterly Community Standards Enforcement Report.

Our inaugural report contains some noteworthy takeaways:

  • The content that’s seen by the most people isn’t necessarily the content that also gets the most engagement. Read more about how engagement — the likes, shares, and comments a Page or post generates — doesn’t equate to its reach, the number of people who actually see it.
  • The majority (57%) of posts that people see is from their family and friends, in line with changes we made in the past so that content from friends and family makes up a larger portion of News Feed.
  • Fewer than 13% of content views were on posts with links, and the top-viewed news domains account for only 0.31% of all content views in News Feed. Of those outlets, mainstream media dominate by views. We’ve explained before why only a small portion of News Feed is news.
  • This report sheds light on the kinds of posts and Pages that are actually the most widely viewed — with many of the most-viewed Pages focused on sharing content about pets, cooking, family, and relatable viral content.

Our insights tool, CrowdTangle, was built to help people get an idea of content from Pages that gets the most likes, comments and reshares. We want this data to be broadly available to people, which is why we’re publishing it directly in our Transparency Center. We see this as a complement to insights that can be found through CrowdTangle, which is primarily a tool used by publishers. It’s important to note that there is so much content on Facebook that even the most-viewed content is still a small portion of what people see. Given the customized nature of News Feed, most of what people see on Facebook is uniquely personalized to them. To paint a complete picture and provide more extensive detail of what people actually see on Facebook, we’ll release Widely Viewed Content Reports on a quarterly basis, starting in the US and eventually including more international data. 

Transparency is part of everything we do, and releasing these reports is the latest step in our efforts to share data and hold ourselves accountable. Whether it’s sharing our content enforcement progress through the Community Standards Enforcement Report, submitting ourselves to external audit, working to release new data and tools (like the recently-announced Researcher API) to researchers through Facebook Open Research and Transparency (FORT), or expanding our Data for Good partnerships to help address COVID-19 or disaster relief, we’re committed to sharing useful and accurate information with the public.

See the full report and companion guide for more information.

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