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Widely Viewed Content Report, Third Quarter 2021

  • We’re publishing the Widely Viewed Content Report for the third quarter of 2021 to highlight the most viewed organic content in News Feed, which includes posts about people’s favorite movies and Pages dedicated to personal interests.
  • We’ll continue to meet with academics and experts to discuss these reports in detail and consider their input when exploring product changes tied to this work. 

Today we’re publishing the Widely Viewed Content Report (WVCR) for the third quarter of 2021. This is the second edition of this report, which highlights the most viewed organic content in News Feed, including domains, links, Pages and posts in the US. This report includes content recommended by Facebook and excludes advertising content. Read more about its scope and methodology in our Companion Guide

There’s been a lot written about polarizing content dominating News Feed, so this report sheds more light on the types of content that reaches the most people, which includes posts about people’s favorite movies and Pages dedicated to entertainment, cooking and family. Still, these reports have highlighted gaps in our enforcements and demotions, which we’re taking immediate steps to address.

Updates Since the Q2 Report

Since releasing our inaugural WVCR, we have engaged with academics, civil society groups and researchers to identify the parts of our first report they found most valuable, which metrics needed more context and how we can best support their understanding of content distribution on Facebook. Based on these discussions, we’ve provided more clarity into our methodology and included more context in the Companion Guide. Moving forward, we’ll continue to work with external stakeholders to refine and improve these reports. 

Removing Violating Content

We remove content from Facebook when it poses a real risk of harm, like graphic violence, hate speech or fake COVID cures. Our Community Standards prohibit hateful or harmful content, and we invest heavily in developing ways of identifying it and acting on it quickly. Learnings from our first WVCR have led to better applications and development of existing policies, including the removal of a network of more than a hundred Pages, profiles and domains for inauthentic behavior

Reducing Low-Quality Content

We also use News Feed ranking to reduce the distribution of posts that may contain content people find objectionable, but don’t necessarily meet the bar of removal under our policies. In creating these reports, we learned that our efforts to reduce engagement bait and low quality content needed to be refined to address more of it, which has led to changes in how we identify and reduce it. For example, we’re expanding our engagement bait identifiers, evaluating the impact that comments from friends can have on showing unconnected posts in News Feed, and experimenting with reducing that impact. We’re also exploring new experiments to reduce posts with unrelated links. We anticipate that these changes may lead to a reduction of low-quality content in future reports; however, it may take several reporting cycles for our reduction efforts to make a noticeable impact. 

Ongoing Work and Transparency

We are committed to sharing more about the changes we’re making based on what we’ve learned from the WVCR. We will also continue to meet with academics and experts to discuss these reports in detail and consider their input when exploring new tests or product changes tied to this work. 

Learn more in the full report and Companion Guide.


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