Conservatives Don’t ‘Dominate Facebook,’ Despite The Left’s Insistence They Do

In this photo illustration a Facebook logo seen displayed on a smartphone with a laptop keyboard in the background. (Photo Illustration by Omar Marques/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)
In part of an ongoing campaign to pressure Facebook into censoring content that threatens their control of the flow of information, left-leaning mainstream media outlets have repeatedly sounded the alarm over conservative sites and voices supposedly “dominating” Facebook since the rise of President Donald Trump.
A new report on August engagements (comments, shares, and likes) on the social media platform has added fuel to the media-stoked fire, seemingly giving Facebook hawks evidence to back their “conservatives dominate” narrative. However, a closer look at the numbers reveals that, yet again, the establishment media has the story backwards — the reality is the left-leaning and mainstream outlets consistently monopolize newsfeeds and enjoy more total engagements collectively than explicitly conservative outlets.
In its August report on Facebook engagements, NewsWhip announced that The Daily Wire had, for the second month in a row, taken the top spot for total engagements, amassing 104.9 million engagements over the course of the month. The other “striking” news for the month was that two other explicitly conservative sites, The Blaze and Breitbart, both made it into the top 10. Here’s how NewsWhip announced the development:
Perhaps the most striking change this month is the greater proliferation of explicitly conservative publications in the top ten, with both The Blaze and Breitbart appearing in the list for the first time in months.
In other words, it’s big news that three “explicitly conservative” sites weighed in among the top 10 in total engagements (chart via NewsWhip below).

Add up all of the engagements of the three conservative sites and you find that they collectively racked up 187.8 million engagements over the course of the month, which is just under a third (32%) of the 587.8 million total engagements among the top 10.
If you expand the list to the top 25 news publishers for August, you’ll find just three more self-styled conservative sites: Western Journal, CNS News, and Conservative Opinion. The total engagements represented by that group of six: 257.4 million engagements. That gives explicitly conservative sites just 27% of the total engagements of the top 25.
Even if you add in right-of-center but not explicitly conservative outlets — Fox News, Daily Mail, and the New York Post — you’ll find that right-leaning sites account for less than half (45%) of engagements produced by Facebook’s top 25 sites.
Less than a third is hardly “domination,” and 45% representation for right-of-center sites seems about right for a country in which about that percentage regularly vote Republican.
And the mainstream media’s argument about Facebook somehow favoring right-leaning sites falls apart further if you look at data from previous months. As mentioned above, The Daily Wire, for the first time ever, won July as well, with 98.9 million engagements. But what about the rest of the top 25? Well, here’s how it shook out, as reported by NewsWhip:
For those keeping score, that’s five explicitly conservative sites out of the top 25 sites (DW, Breitbart, The Blaze, WJ, and CNS News). Add in right-leaning (Fox News, Daily Mail, NY Post), that’s still just eight out of 25 and an even lower percentage of total engagements than August. Look back another month, same story. Look back at May, only two “explicitly conservative” sites (DW and Breitbart, which ranked seventh and 17th, respectively). Whatever percentage “domination” equals, it’s not less than a third, and often considerably less.
And the story isn’t just which sites get the most engagement, it’s also which sites have the most “reach” — which sites’ posts are seen by the most users. There, too, the left-leaning and mainstream media outlets outperform conservative sites, a point highlighted by Facebook’s head of News Feed John Hegeman in July. In response to one of The New York Times’ tech columnist Kevin Roose’s steady stream of Facebook-themed tweets highlighting the platform’s engagement data, Hegeman suggested that what Roose and others are missing is that even though conservatives do well in the engagement metric, the mainstream outlets enjoy a far broader reach. Business Insider reports (formatting adjusted):
[A]ccording to Hegeman, a more accurate metric for understanding what news people see on Facebook is ‘reach,’ or the number of people who saw a link in their news feed (even if the link was posted by multiple different pages or users). Hegeman shared a list of links that had the widest reach on Facebook, compared with the posts with the highest engagement on the same day. On July 5, the posts with the highest engagement came from Franklin Graham, Ben Shapiro, Breitbart, ForAmerica, and CNN. By contrast, the links with the widest reach that day came from The Los Angeles Times, MSNBC, Ranker, BuzzFeed, and ABC News.
The real story here is that mainstream outlets, which overwhelmingly lean left despite their claims otherwise, continue to control the lion’s share of news distribution. Their obsession with the relative success of conservative outlets on Facebook just serves to highlight that reality. What’s really going on here is obvious to anyone paying attention: The mainstream media wants to censor content from other sources in an attempt to re-establish the control of the news narrative they lost when the internet broke up their monopoly.

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