How an obscure Green Bay Packers site became the biggest thing on Facebook

Green Bay The packers play in one of the smaller media markets in the NFL, with a small but known to be loyal fan base. It is a key part of their charm. This is also why it was so baffling to discover that the most viewed URL on Facebook over the past three months, with 87.2 million views, belongs to an obscure site devoted to making people pay for dating. former Packers players.

This fact is one of the many bizarre data points that emerged from Facebook’s very first “Widely Viewed Content Report”. the document is apparently an attempt to push back the narrative that the platform is overrun with disinformation, fake news and political extremism. Based on data from its own publicly available analytics tool, CrowdTangle — data cleverly popularized by New York Times reporter Kevin Roose – the list of pages and articles with the most engagement on the platform is heavily dominated by less-than-reputable right-wing publications and figures like NewsMax and Dan Bongino, which far outperform more worthy mainstream publications of confidence.

Facebook has a long time argued this commitment does not tell the whole story. According to company executives, a more accurate way to measure what’s popular on Facebook is to look at total impressions, or “reach,” which is how many people see a given piece of content instead. than how many people like it or comment on it. The obvious problem with this argument is that, until Wednesday, Facebook had never shared reach data, making its claims impossible to verify. Like Roose wrote Last month, a proposal to make this data public met with resistance within the company, because it also might not make Facebook so popular. As CrowdTangle CEO Brandon Silverman reportedly put it in an internal email, “Achieving the leaderboard is not a total victory from a communications perspective.”

Now we have an idea of ​​what Silverman might have meant.

The new report consists primarily of four Top 20 lists: the most viewed domains, links, pages and posts in the past three months. (Facebook says it will release the reports quarterly.) The domain list contains mostly unsurprising results, including YouTube, Amazon, and GoFundMe, major websites you’d expect to post a lot on Facebook. (These results are not only surprising but unnecessary, because a link to the YouTube domain, for example, could be for any of the billions of videos.) But number nine is the URL, that website of Packers. Things get even stranger in the top 20 links rankings, where this url comes into play. first place, which means that the Player Alumni Resources home page was somehow more popular on Facebook than any other site on the Internet. The rest of the list contains similar surprises. In second position is a link to; in fifth, with 51.6 million views, is

Player Alumni Resources, led by former Packers kicker Chris Jacke, is he quietly a Facebook juggernaut? Its official page has only 4,100 subscribers. His posts receive very few likes or comments. What is happening here?

The answer: memes. From his personal account, which has over 120,000 subscribers, Jacke posts a constant stream of cheap viral memes that have nothing to do with the Packers, adding his business URL to the top of the post. We’re talking about “Pick a variety of cookies to live without” or “Give yourself a point for each one you’ve made”. A meme article asking what word people use to refer to soda (or soda, if you insist), for example, generated more than 2 million interactions in June, according to data from CrowdTangle. Jacke did not respond to requests for comment.

This seems to be the modus operandi of the other seemingly random members of the link ranking. The second place hemp store with 72.1 million views? This appears to be the work of Jaleel White, best known for playing Steve Urkel on Family affairs. White, whose page has nearly 1.5 million subscribers, posts recycled meme after meme, each with a link to a CBD product store.

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