This piece was originally published in the January 14, 2022 edition of CAP Action’s weekly newsletter, What’s Trending? Subscribe to What’s Trending? here.
News about vaccine mandates, voting rights, and the one-year anniversary of President Biden’s inauguration made for a busy week on political Facebook.
Read on to learn more. But first, in case you missed it, check out our January 14 edition of What’s Trending?
WHAT WE’RE HEARING ON SOCIAL
Progressives authored half of the top ten political posts in the past week and four in the week prior, a more even split after their strong showing over conservative pages a few weeks ago.
Top posts focused on a mix of policy and the personal. The top post, from Occupy Democrats, highlighted billionaire Mark Cuban’s plan to launch an online pharmacy for generic affordable drugs — one approach to addressing the sky-high cost of prescription drugs. Policy-related posts on COVID-19 response and vaccination from Joe Biden and Occupy Democrats performed well, in addition to a post on unaffordable housing from Patriotic Millionaires and a tongue-in-cheek reference to the Carhartt boycott. Other more personal topics included President Biden’s ice cream tour and two posts about dogs.
Top conservative posts in the past week held a strong line against President Biden in the wake of defeats on the filibuster and the vaccine mandate. An interesting overlap in topics among conservatives and progressives was the news around Neil Young’s departure from Spotify to combat pandemic misinformation. Breitbart, Ben Shapiro, and Occupy Democrats all posted successfully on the topic (from different angles).
Fascinatingly, last week’s top progressive post was a link post. While a large share of top conservative posts are usually link posts (this week being no exception), this strategy is not often employed to great effect on the progressive side. Last week provided some evidence that links can be a small part of an effective social media strategy for progressives.
President Biden’s name is always near the top of the engagement charts on Facebook, but over the last two weeks there has been a lot of news. First, the Supreme Court struck down the administration’s vaccine mandate on January 13th, which conservatives celebrated. Then, on January 19th, the Senate debate of the Freedom to Vote and John Lewis Voting Rights Acts John grabbed the national spotlight, with voting rights-related posts from progressive and conservative pages alike earning 1.3 million interactions.
That made for a crowded media environment to celebrate the one-year anniversary of the Biden/Harris administration on January 20th. Progressives celebrated the administration’s economic recovery and strong jobs numbers, while conservatives took the opportunity to attack the president on inflation. According to the data, the progressive argument appears to have grabbed a larger audience — jobs-related posts doubled in interactions from 300,000 to 600,000 on Jan. 20th, while inflation-related posts stayed flat around 250,000.
Finally, Justice Stephen Breyer’s retirement led headlines on Wednesday, drawing 785,000 interactions on nearly 3,000 Facebook posts. We’ll surely be seeing more of this story in the coming days and look forward to monitoring the different angles taken on Facebook in next week’s edition.
Thanks for reading,
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This newsletter is written by me, Alex Witt (@alexandriajwitt), a progressive political staffer and Dolly Parton enthusiast (she/her), and CAP Action’s fantastic team of designers, data analysts, and email strategists.