News publishers made up a tiny fraction of all the content that Facebook’s U.S. users viewed in their news feeds, according to the social network. Its
first Widely Viewed Content Report
suggests publishers need Facebook a lot more than it needs them.
publishers are well represented among the top 20 website domains classified as “widely viewed.” However, their content makes up 0.3% of what Facebook users see in their personalized news
Most of what people see consists of updates, photos, videos, links, app activity and interactions from the friends, groups and organizations they follow. About 87% of
news-feed content views are of posts without links to external sites, keeping people within Facebook’s platform.
ABC News’ website during the second quarter had
the highest-ranked news domain, with 88.1 million content viewers and a ranking of No. 10. That was ahead of the websites for The Daily Mail (No. 12), NBC News (No. 15), CNN (No. 16) and CBS
News (No. 19), according to Facebook.
While Facebook generates hundreds of millions of views for posts from these news outlets, it’s not clear how many people clink on
links to visit those sites. Facebook is considered a major source of news, with Pew Research Center
finding 36% of U.S. adults regularly get news from the social network.
Google’s YouTube led the ranking with 181.3 million content viewers, but Facebook’s report
doesn’t indicate whether people viewed content from publishers such as Conde Nast, Meredith or BuzzFeed on the video-sharing platform. It’s more likely YouTube’s viewers
find this content by visiting the site directly, or by using its mobile and connected TV apps.
The report doesn’t include publisher content that’s aggregated in
its Facebook News section. In the past few years, the social network has gradually expanded the number of publishers that license their content for that part of its platform.
As Facebook faces calls to pay publishers for content, its report suggests it can survive with the billions of user-generated posts that fill people’s news feeds.