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Facebook reportedly decided not to reveal a report about the most-viewed content on the platform in the first three months of 2021 because the company is concerned that the data would make them look bad.

Facebook Allegedly Hid Report

According to The New York Times, Facebook's vice president of analytics and chief marketing officer, Alex Schultz, and other company executives debated whether the results of the reports would harm their image.

The report showed that the most-viewed link in the first three months of the year was a news article from The South Florida Sun Sentinel about a doctor who passed away just two weeks after getting the COVID-19 vaccine, and how the CDC was investigating the incident.

The article was republished by The Chicago Tribune.

The report also showed that a far-right media outlet named The Epoch Times was the 19th most popular page on the social media platform.

Also Read:FTC Brings Back Antitrust Lawsuit Against Facebook for Social Media Monopoly; Big Blue is Unsafe 

The recent revelation immediately raised questions about whether the company is selectively publishing data that helps them fight back against backlash from the general public.

President Biden's administration and other publications have urged Facebook to do more to prevent the spread of COVID-19 misinformation that could make people doubt the effectiveness of vaccines because it costs lives. 

Andy Stone, a spokesman for Facebook, posted on Twitter that they held the report before there were adjustments that they needed to make before publishing it.

Stone also stated that the most-viewed headline came from an authoritative news source.

Meanwhile, Facebook executives have raised concerns before when information from a data analytics tool called CrowdTangle showed high user engagement with right-wing websites.

The Report that Facebook Published

On Aug. 18, Facebook published the report for the first time that included what links, pages, domains, and posts were the most viewed in the United States during the second quarter of the year, which is between April and June.

The most viewed domain was YouTube, while the most viewed link was the Player Alumni Resources.

Meanwhile, the top page that was viewed was from UNICEF.

The most viewed post on Facebook US was an image from a motivational speaker that asked the public about the first words that they see in a block of letters.

Company executives stated that it released the data as part of the social media giant's commitment to transparency.

However, critics stated that the published report did not deliver on the transparency that the company promised because there are limitations to the data.

Brian Boland, Facebook's former vice president of product marketing, even called the report "useless."

Boland said in an interview with a Medium blog that after he read through the press release and the report, he believed that the whole ordeal is just a PR stunt.

The former Facebook exec also pointed out that the report is not even searchable. It is so limited that the public just has to trust Facebook's word for it instead of the company giving people links to the most-viewed content so that they can check it out themselves.

Also, since Facebook is such as huge platform with millions of posts, listing the top 20 of the most-viewed ones is only a tiny fraction of a defined set of content, and that there is so much more content that users will never see in the report, even though it made an impact.

Related Article:Facebook Combats Misinformation, Removes 14 Million Deceptive COVID-19 Related Posts in 2020 

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Written by Sophie Webster

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