How hyper-political publishers are still stealing the show on social media

May 9, 2017

Written by NewsWhip

Our latest report tracks the rise of hyper-political publishers on social media, and the lasting effects for mainstream publishers, social media platforms, brands, and readers alike. 

Previously, we’ve all been advised that politics is one of those topics not to discuss in polite company. Unfortunately, it seems unavoidable these days.

In the NewsWhip blog alone, we’ve seen politics seep into the most engaging stories for sports, fashion, brands, and more. In our Spike and Analytics dashboards, the top content is again and again overflowing with mentions of Trump, his administration, and the reactions to both.

Donald Trump social media analytics
This in mind, we decided to use our data to dive into Trump’s rise to prominence, and how the social media engagements told a different story than what many people believed the outcome of the election would be. Many of the buzziest stories on social came from the growing prominence of hyper-political reporters throughout the U.S. campaign.

In our new report, we look at that influx of hyper-political sites and what they meant for politics, mainstream journalism, and social media platforms.

Read the Rise of Hyper-Political Publishers Report

Breitbart, IJR, Occupy Democrats, the list goes on and on. Many hyper-political publishers embraced hyperbolic headlines and sensationalist articles to activate their audiences. Through these emotionally-charged methods, extreme publishers have been able to play on users’ already fraught feelings and opinions. The effects became compounded through social media’s algorithms and filter bubbles, intended to surface what each user was most interested in.

Another byproduct of some hyper-political publishers, fake news, caused massive upheaval since the presidential election, raising alarm among voters, media, and the social platforms themselves. The concern over fake news has only continued as the French government went into its own heated presidential election in the past months.

So why should we care now, in 2017? Because, despite being over six months past the U.S. election, these hyper-political publishers and false news concerns are still creating lasting aftereffects.

These publishers have amassed audiences that are still engaging with their content across social media, our report shows. Plus, in a recent study, fake news is still being primarily spread by users on social media, not bots.

We decided to dig a little deeper, into the data before and during the election, and since then. We identified who the top hyper-political publishers have been, both for rightwing and leftwing audiences.
Growth of Right Publishers social media monitoring

Graph: growth of right-slanted sites from March 2016 through February 2017, across Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Pinterest. Data from NewsWhip Analytics.

What did their rise look like and has there been staying power since the election? We further drilled into the mainstream outlets and how they’ve responded to these publishers, and how they’re keeping up for social engagements around events like Election Day and Inauguration Day.

Not only have the social engagements shifted among publishers covering political stories, but where audiences’ attention has shifted for specific publishers as well. We’ve seen the most engaging headlines change for publishers from light-hearted stories to ones that are much more politically-charged and somber.

Publishers aren’t the only ones that need to navigate this new landscape, but agencies and brands have had to adapt as well. Some brands have taken political stances, but others have been unintentionally mentioned and brought into the scrutiny of social media’s eye. It’s clear that politics are now a consideration that every content creator must keep in mind.

Download our new report, The Rise of Hyper-Political Publishers and learn:

  • How hyper-political publishers rose on social media and whether they have staying power
  • Who the big players on both the conservative and liberal side are
  • How mainstream news outlets compare to the partisan sites
  • How headlines of major publishers have shifted to being more political and somber
  • What brands need to be aware of to navigate this politically-charged landscape

For all of the data in our report, check out it out here.

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