What’s Trending? 📈 Nothing personal, strictly business

WHAT’S TRENDING THIS WEEK

  • Both Donald Trump and Joe Biden participated in town halls last Thursday, October 15, in lieu of the cancelled joint town hall by the Commission on Presidential Debates. Biden won the ratings battle, reaching 14.1 million people compared to Trump’s 13.5 million.
  • Efforts to pass another coronavirus relief package continue to fail, despite the House passing the HEROES Act in May. The White House has continued negotiations with Democratic leadership, but Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell remains committed to withholding any packages negotiated outside of the Senate from a floor vote.
  • 8 million people have been forced into poverty since May, according to a report by the New York Times, as coronavirus relief funds have dried up. Researchers found that the expanded unemployment benefits and stimulus checks provided by the CARES Act kept more than 18 million people from poverty at its peak — a historic display of the potential successes of a strong safety net.

WHAT WE’RE HEARING ON SOCIAL

Here are this week’s top five Facebook posts on the Left and Right:

Five best-performing Facebook posts by total interactions among 200 of the largest conservative and progressive pages for the week of October 13–19, according to data from NewsWhip
Facebook posts since March mentioning COVID or coronavirus, according to data from NewsWhip
Most interacted-with posts about Dr. Fauci from October 13–19, according to data from NewsWhip.
Top five Facebook posts from conservative and progressive pages about Dr. Fauci, according to data from NewsWhip
  1. Use data to provide context. Help your audience understand the scale of the pandemic by using data visualizations. This one from CAP Action illustrates the scope of rising cases in the U.S.
  2. Emphasize the science. The pandemic isn’t political, and the response to it shouldn’t be either. Check out this video from Joe Biden, which gets that message across.
  3. Illustrate the human cost of the pandemic. The DNC War Room did this very effectively in their Facebook video, “Samantha”.

SAY IT WITH ME

  • According to an article in the Wall Street Journal, Mark Zuckerberg has developed cozy relationships with conservative Facebook personality Ben Shapiro and Jared Kushner.
  • It also reports that Zuckerberg himself approved 2017 changes to the Facebook news feed algorithm so that left-leaning sites like Mother Jones were targeted, out of concern about potential impacts to conservative sites like Shapiro’s Daily Wire.
  • Read this Twitter thread by Mother Jones Editor-in-Chief Clara Jeffery for more context.

ON MY RADAR

  • Tomorrow, October 22, is (tentatively) the final presidential debate. It will air from 9–10:30pm ET on all major networks.
  • On Friday, October 23, the Center for American Progress will be hosting a panel on countering election disinformation on social media. RSVP here.

ASK ALEX

This week a reader writes, “Help! My video reach is tanking on Facebook. What should I do?”

  • Consider using graphics instead of video when possible. Graphics are easy to interact with, and engagements are the primary driver of the Facebook algorithm right now.
  • Keep an eye on your video retention. This can help you understand where in the video your audience is dropping off, and you can use that information to inform future videos. This is important because Facebook is optimizing toward videos people watch for longer periods of time.
  • Optimize video for the platform. Using the same content on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram just won’t cut it anymore. Facebook videos should be at least three minutes long.

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CAP Action

Hard-hitting news + analysis paired with action on the issues that matter most. Working alongside @AmProg.