The top publishers on Facebook in February 2019

March 27, 2019

Written by Benedict Nicholson
NewsWhip Data

Who were the top publishers on Facebook in February 2019? We took a look at the data in our monthly Facebook publisher rankings.

We’re nearly a quarter of the way through the year, and it’s time once again for our Facebook publisher rankings. February may be the shortest month, but it certainly wasn’t the shortest on engagement, with the high numbers at the top end of the rankings largely continuing from our January observations, albeit with a very slight dip across the board.

As ever, these are taken from our API, based on the url, and not grouped in any way. You can read more about how we do these rankings on the developer hub.

Some quick highlights before we get into the meat of the data:

  • Fox News remained on top, with nearly exactly the same number of engagements as the previous month
  • The Daily Mail rose back into second place, though with fewer engagements than last month
  • Overall engagements were slightly down on last month, but still up on many previous months

Now, let’s look a little deeper.

The top web publishers on Facebook in February 2019

Fox News once again came out on top in the month of February, with some 45 million engagements to its web content.

The Daily Mail rose to second in the rankings, driving some 37 million engagements, which is actually a little less than last month where they finished third. The rise in the rankings was facilitated by a bit of a drop in CNN’s engagements, dropping from 39 million to 32 million, but still significantly above the 21 million they drove in December.

In terms of the makeup of the top ten publishers as a whole, it was mostly the same as January, with only two moving in and out. Lad Bible and Breitbart fell to eleventh and twelfth respectively, while The Guardian rose from thirteenth to tenth, and (the international version of the BBC website) rose into the top ten from being eleventh in our list last month.

Numbers were slightly down overall across the board, but this may have been due to the lack of the sheer volume of significant news events that we saw in January.

The top stories of February 2019

The top stories in February had no particular theme. There was no political news that dominated the news coverage more than any other piece of news, as we have seen in previous months, though Bernie Sanders launching his second presidential campaign did come in eighth.

There was a lot more of what might be termed ‘soft’ news that drove engagement this month, including a zoo that will name a cockroach after your ex and then feed it to a meerkat, a story about bathing in CBD oil as pain relief, and Sam’s Club bringing back pool floats for the summer. This pool float story was the top story of the month, with 1.2 million engagements.

There were also successes for stories of empathy, with Steven Tyler opening a home for abused women in Memphis and a woman who rented hotel rooms for the homeless during last month’s big freeze in the midwest both coming in the top five stories for the month, with more than a million engagements each.
There was an unusual lack of the biggest publishers in the top fifteen stories, with the exception of CBS news and CNN, but that is likely due to a comparative lack of any real needle-moving political stories, as well as some local interest stories that drove high engagement.

The top 25 publishers of February 2019

In the chart below you can find the top 25 publishers on Facebook ranked by their engagements to their web content. Also shown is the total number of articles that each website published on their platform.

The list was mostly the same as last month, with some of the top fifteen exchanging places but mostly remaining made up of the same publishers.

Risers into the top 25 included some British publishers, including the Mirror, the Sun, the Independent, and Unilad, a longtime mainstay of these rankings that had dropped out in January of this year.
Publishers that fell out included 24/7 Sports, The Hill, and the New York Post, but these were all near the bottom of the top 25, so it’s not a significant shock.

Again worthy of note is the average engagement some of these sites are achieving on a piece of content. The Daily Wire, UNILAD, and the Lad Bible all published fewer than 1,000 articles each but drove tens of millions of engagements on their content.

Once again, almost all of the top 25 publishers in February 2019 were traditional news publishers, and the very top ones tended to be legacy publishers such as Fox, the BBC, and CNN.

Want to see which publishers are going viral right now? Take a tour of NewsWhip Spike.

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Benedict Nicholson

In addition to leading the NewsWhip Research Center in New York, Benedict Nicholson manages partnerships with internationally recognized media outlets furthering data journalism, which includes NewsWhip’s Data for Democracy program. Benedict also facilitates consultations with communicators from the top 10 public relations agencies across America and Europe and with Fortune 500 brands to discuss consumer engagement trends and effective media monitoring. Email Benedict via

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