Fb CMO Alex Schultz reacts to the notion of dominance by conservative websites

Facebook attempted to respond to recent criticisms of the dominance of conservative sites on its platform with a newsroom post from recently appointed Chief Marketing Officer (and Vice President of Analytics) Alex Schultz, who appeared to highlight the limitations of the CrowdTangle analytics tool that Facebook acquired Had November 2016 – and contradicts the social network's emphasis on the quality of interactions versus the number of interactions.

Schultz also tried to minimize the presence of political content on Facebook by saying that it only accounts for 6% of users in the US on their news feed, adding that the increase in posts on Halloween was double that of the corresponding one Increase on Election Day, despite calls from the social network to encourage users to post on polls.

Kevin Roose, a technology columnist for the New York Times, drew attention to the performance of conservative sites with his Twitter account @ FacebooksTop10, who shares the 10 best link posts from Facebook pages every day, sorted by overall interactions and selected via CrowdTangle.

The top performing link posts on the US Facebook Pages in the past 24 hours were from:

1. Franklin Graham
2. Kamala Harris
3. Donald J. Trump
4. Donald J. Trump
5th Dan Bongino
6. Franklin Graham
7. Donald J. Trump
8. Donald J. Trump
9. Donald J. Trump
10. Newsmax

– Facebooks Top 10 (@ FacebooksTop10) November 10, 2020

Schultz wrote that CrowdTangle was designed to provide insight into content that generates likes, comments, and approvals, but not to determine what content is viewed the most, adding, “The ranking of top page posts Reactions, comments, etc. doesn't paint a full picture of what people actually see on Facebook … Likes and comments don't mean reach. Our ranking models involve much more than just commitment. For example, they can contain poll results, for example when we ask people whether a post was worth their time. "

Calling Roose's lists "a subset of page posts," he shared two charts comparing the top performing US sites by engagement to links and engagement to all posts, highlighting the differences from October 23-29 .

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Schultz also shared data on reach, writing, "However, to show the full picture, we think it's important to check how many people actually see the content (rather than like or share it)."

He illustrated this point with two more diagrams that show the contrast between the top US sites by reach of all posts and the top US publisher domains by reach of their links.

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This seems to contradict the tendency on Facebook – and on social platforms in general – to view reach as a vanity metric and to emphasize interaction with content.

Schultz addressed the spikes in engagement for sites like CNN, the New York Times, NPR, and the Washington Post on Saturday, November 7th when the election was called in favor of former Vice President Joe Biden, and said some of them were Publishers would have seen massive peaks that day but then returned to normal, adding, “A lesser effect appears to be due to the temporary measures we have taken to address potential misinformation and related content on our platform delegitimize the elections. "

He admitted that the points he presented “should not be a perfect analysis,” referring to Facebook's partnership with researchers from several universities in the Facebook Open Research and Transparency project and nothing that FORT's initial research in the next year are expected the goal of better understanding.

Schultz concluded, “After Cambridge Analytica, it is clear how careful we must be when working with researchers and giving them access to data. It is also clear that after the last presidential election we need independent research to understand our role in elections. This partnership through FORT is a step in that direction and (although nothing is perfect) one that I'm really proud of. I hope it can serve as a base on which we can build for the future to thread the needle on privacy and research needs. "

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