Facebook’s Most Widely Viewed Links Dominated By Spam

Meta released its latest widely viewed content report showing what the most popular posts were for the second half of 2021.

In addition, the report includes statistics about content that tends to be shared, a list of most popular domains, and the most viewed links, pages, and posts seen by users in the United States.

Meta is transitioning to a new methodology for reporting the most widely viewed content.

For this report, Meta chose to show results based on the old methodology and the new approach.

Meta used “content views” and “viewers” as the top metrics for generating the widely viewed content report.

One of the important changes is updated criteria for links included in the widely viewed links report. Now, a link will have to generate a preview in order to be considered a viewed link.

Widely Viewed Links

Facebook stated the most widely viewed links reflected the wide interests of Facebook users in topics such as humor, culture, and do it yourself subjects.

That said, according to the new methodology of the widely viewed links report, 30% of the top 20 most widely viewed links were generated through inauthentic behavior and spam.

Inauthentic behavior is when users misrepresent themselves or artificially boost their content using tactics such as multiple Facebook accounts.

The top two most widely viewed links, with combined views of 59.3 million views came from the same website.

In fact, the same domains accounted for all 30% of the top links blocked for inauthentic behavior.

The 30% of inauthentic behavior links managed to generate 112.2 Million views before Facebook stepped in and blocked them.

Screenshot Of Top Two Most Widely Viewed Links

Image Credit: Screenshot from transparency.fb.com/data/widely-viewed-content-report/, May 2022.

The non-spam top twenty list consists of:

  1. Private YouTube Video
  2. YouTube Video – Political
  3. TMZ Article About Bob Saget
  4. Dot Gov Covid Test Page
  5. TikTok
  6. NBC News Article
  7. BBC News article
  8. USPS Covid Test Site
  9. Fox News Detroit Dog Rescue Article
  10. HuffPost Superbowl Halftime Article
  11. Offline Parked Domain (ranked #15 with 12.3 million views)
  12. ComicBook.com article
  13. BuzzFeedNews article
  14. ScreenRant article

Most Popular Posts

Meta also published statistics about the most popular posts.

  • 85.3% of views came from posts shared by people’s friends, from Groups people had joined, or Pages they had followed
  • 49.1% Posts from followed friends and people
  • 20.5% Posts from joined groups
  • 15.7% Posts from followed pages
  • 11.7% Posts from unconnected posts
  • 3% Other

Most Widely Viewed Posts

Perhaps a commentary on what passes for entertainment in the 21st century, the most popular post on Facebook for the second half of 2022 was a short video of a woman at a sports arena walking up an aisle randomly shoving people she passed.  The post received 68 million views.

Top Post On Facebook

Image Credit: Screenshot from transparency.fb.com/data/widely-viewed-content-report/, May 2022.

The rest of the most widely viewed posts were on a similar train-wreck level of content.

Facebook Transparency Report

The biggest takeaway might be that Facebook is getting better at blocking spam sites if only one site managed to infiltrate the top twenty most widely viewed links.

Or it could be that this one site was really, really good at inauthentic behavior and shut out the competitors.

It would be interesting if in the future Meta released the top 100 most widely viewed links so that a bigger picture of what’s going on at Facebook could be viewed.

Top 20 lists like the ones Meta shared give only a partial view and as such, seems to be only partially transparent.


Read the Widely Viewed Content Report

Widely Viewed Content Report: What People See on Facebook

Read the Full Meta Transparency Report

Transparency Report, Second Half 2021

Featured Image: Master1305/Shutterstock