Reactions to the Facebook debate: How right-wing voices dominate the conversation on the presidential debate


Conservative media used Facebook extensively to connect with voters in 2016, helping propel Donald Trump to the presidency. Since then, the right’s control over the platform has only intensified.

Right-wing voices made up nine of the top 10 performing posts on Facebook since the presidential debate on Tuesday. Many Americans who primarily receive news from Facebook live in a media ecosystem where the winner of the debate is clear: President Trump crushed Joe Biden.

Top performing link posts on Facebook, by interactions

These posts – through US pages and with links – have received the most shares, comments and reactions in the 12 hours since the first presidential debate.

Conservatives have complained that social media companies unfairly censor their posts, but on Facebook their posts regularly surpass those of the competition. According to data from CrowdTangle, a Facebook-owned analytics tool, 20 of the top 30 posts with the most interactions, including nine of the top 10, were from right-wing accounts, including posts from arsonist Ben Shapiro, the account of Trump and Dan Bongino. , a Trump sidekick.

Only eight of the top 30 were Conservatives in 2016.

[How conservatives learned to wield power inside Facebook]

In 2018, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg apologized, promising the company would better regulate bogus content.

But on the morning of the debate, a conspiracy theory swirled on Facebook: Biden was going to receive responses through an earpiece. One of the main messages on the earpiece of a Trump fan page was deleted from Facebook after gaining more than 16,000 interactions. At the start of the debate, two other posts promoting the history of the fake earpiece were the fourth and eighth most-interacting posts with the site. These remain live on Facebook.

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Facebook interaction data comes from CrowdTangle, which tracks public posts by public pages.



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