Tucker Carlson dominated the top stories on Facebook in April 2023

May 10, 2023

Written by Benedict Nicholson

Tucker Carlson and Fox News parting ways was the big news in our April top publisher rankings, as the story resonated across multiple different outlets. 

Here are some of the key takeaways for this month 

  • The Daily Mail retained its place at the top of the rankings 
  • Tucker Carlson and Jerry Springer dominated the discourse 
  • Engagement for the top publishers was down overall compared to March 

Let’s look a little closer at the data. 

The top publishers on Facebook in April 2023

The Daily Mail was comfortably ahead of its peers in April this year, with almost 1.5x the engagement levels of its closest competitors. 

Bar chart showing the top publishers on Facebook in April 2023, ranked by engagement, with The Daily Mail on top with 14 million engagements

That said, the publisher did see a reasonably significant drop in engagements month over month, dropping from almost 18 million to closer to 14 million from March to April. This was largely true across the board, with most publishers seeing fewer engagements to their content than they did in March. 

One exception to this rule was People Magazine, which saw a surge in engagement of around a million, which was enough to push it from fourth place up to second in our rankings, displacing the Daily Mirror and the BBC in the process. 

The top publishers’ success was driven by quite distinct narratives, as is often the case in these rankings. For The Daily Mail, the top stories were largely human interest. Their top article had more than 100k engagements and was about Mattel releasing a Barbie doll with Down’s syndrome to better reflect society as a whole. Barbie also featured in the publisher’s second story, though in quite a different manner, with 78k engagements to the story covering a woman who has had 43 cosmetic procedures to become a Barbie doll lookalike. The top five was rounded out by a profile of Rachel McAdams (71k), the fallout from the Bud Light/Dylan Mulvaney saga (68k), and Lizzo wearing a blue tie-dye bikini on her hotel balcony (58k).

People Magazine’s return to the rankings podium was as celebrity-focused as you would expect for the publication. The top five stories included Chrissy Teigen and John Legend celebrating a family Easter in Italy (149k), Ozzy Osborne’s Easter celebration (127k), Shemar Moore’s birthday photo with his daughter (108k), Cyndi Lauper talking about her friendship with Rod Stewart (89k), and Keke Palmer dancing with her newborn son (84k).

The Daily Mirror’s success was as driven by soccer as it always is, with Senegal and Bayern Munich winger Sadio Mane a particular protagonist — featuring in three of the five most engaged articles. The top stories were about Mane’s future (64k), Mikel Arteta’s message to Arsenal players (63k), Jurgen Klopp on Sadio Mane (57k), Erling Haaland breaking scoring records (47k), and Mane punching teammate Leroy Sane (46k).

There’s enough of a pattern established over the course of a few months now to say that these human interest stories, celebrity stories, and sports stories — especially soccer — are key drivers of engagement on Facebook at the moment, with politics and hard news playing far less of a significant role at the moment. That’s not to say it doesn’t exist, of course, just that the three aforementioned topics tend to receive the most attention right now. 

There are some exceptions to this rule, as we will see in the top articles.

The top articles on Facebook in April 2023

There was one clear narrative when it came to the top articles in April, and it was a mix between the political and the celebrity — Tucker Carlson being fired by Fox News.

Table showing the top stories on Facebook in April 2023, ranked by engagement, with Newsmax's article about Tucker Carlson being fired on top

Conservative publisher Newsmax, which first rose to prominence in the aftermath of the 2020 election, had the top article of the month with their report on Carlson being fired. In total, the Newsmax article had more than 437k engagements. This was not the only article about Carlson in the top fifteen articles though, with NPR, Rumble, ABC News, and The Washington Post also seeing significant engagement driven by their coverage.

Other narratives to appear in the top fifteen articles included country music artists boycotting Bud Light, a New Orleans senior breaking college acceptance records, and the death of Jerry Springer

The top 25 publishers of April

 

Table showing the top 25 publishers on Facebook in April 2023, ranked by engagement

The top 25 publishers saw slightly less engagement as a group in April compared to  March, following the pattern of the top ten. A couple of notable websites in the mix included Manchester United’s site, and the Manchester Evening News, both of which made it into the list thanks to their local soccer reporting. 

If you’d like to understand more about the top publishers around the world, read our Mexico rankings here.

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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 benedict.nicholson@newswhip.com.

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