Facebook has published its first report on the content most viewed by its users in 2021. The release of this report has been the subject of controversy following revelations by the New York Times that an earlier report remained unpublished by Facebook.
In its first iteration, the report indicated that the article most viewed by Facebook users on the platform in the first quarter of 2021 was an article published by the Chicago Tribune entitled “A ‘healthy’ doctor died two weeks after getting a COVID-19 vaccine”. However, the mention of this article, which was widely relayed by individuals opposing vaccination, has disappeared from Facebook’s official version of the report. The platform justified this disappearance by citing a change in its view-counting method.
For its part, the Colombia Journalism Review has relayed numerous criticisms of this report. The organization has namely pointed out the omission of content published by private groups and accounts hosted by Facebook in the counting of views. This omission is all the more problematic as the most viral content on Facebook in the United States seems to emanate from accounts regularly associated with an ultra-conservative echo chamber on the platform.