- The Washington Times - Monday, June 14, 2021

Facebook posts about the Biden administration mentioning former President Donald Trump garner more than twice as many engagements as those that do not, according to a new Pew Research Center study published on Monday.

The high level of interactions — shares, comments and reactions, including likes — with content about the former president in the first months of President Biden’s term shows the extent to which Mr. Trump’s presence resonates on Facebook despite the company banning him from their platforms.

“Mentions of Donald Trump in a post proved to be a major catalyst for engagement,” read the Pew report. “Posts that did not mention Trump, on average, generated roughly 9,200 interactions, while those that included the former president had more than double that number — about 19,800.”

The report analyzed 25 U.S. pages that amass the top total average monthly engagement on Facebook from March 8-14. In studying those accounts’ 5,458 posts, the researchers found that posts from self-identified liberals were more likely to mention Mr. Trump than self-identified conservatives. Conservatives, by contrast, were more fixated on immigration than liberals.

Democratic strategist Thomas Mills said he thought Pew’s analysis showed Republicans just cannot quit Mr. Trump.

“Clearly he has usurped all the values of their party. They stand for nothing,” said Mr. Mills. “The only thing that matters in the Republican Party is Donald Trump and it’s the most pathetic and dangerous thing I’ve seen in my entire career.”

Mr. Mills said that the report’s observations showing liberals posting about Mr. Trump more than conservatives was logical because he thinks the GOP only cares about Mr. Trump

The top Facebook pages’ assessments of Mr. Biden’s presidency were more negative than broader media coverage on television, radio and news websites. The Pew report observed 36% of the top users’ posts about the Biden administration as negative compared to 21% of posts that were positive. Among broader media coverage, Pew reported that 28% of their stories carried a negative assessment of the Biden administration and 31% revealed a positive assessment.

While Facebook engagement with the accounts driving the most interaction may not translate into increased ratings or readership across other mediums, Pew said that 36% of adults report getting their news on Facebook rather than other social media platforms.

The Facebook pages analyzed by Pew included the president’s son Donald Trump Jr., conservative commentator Ben Shapiro, former President Barack Obama and Occupy Democrats, among others.

Despite driving engagement on Facebook, Mr. Trump is not poised to make a return any time soon. Earlier this month, the company extended its ban on Mr. Trump until at least January 2023.

• Ryan Lovelace can be reached at rlovelace@washingtontimes.com.

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