The world used the CrowdTangle statistics tool, owned by Facebook, to select the ten conservative pages of the social network (excluding Fox News and Donald Trump's official page) that have generated the most “interactions” (shares, comments or “likes”) over the past year. These ten accounts, whose content is particularly viral, paint a portrait of part of Donald Trump's electorate.
Ben Shapiro, the most influential
If the Trump Galaxy on Facebook had a president, it would be him. Ben Shapiro is arguably the most influential conservative commentator on the social network. Its page does not quite reach the popularity of Fox News (330 million interactions over the last twelve months, compared to 440 million), but its aura is enormous. However, Ben Shapiro is far from an early admirer of Donald Trump: this brilliant orator, born in 1984, supported Ted Cruz for the Republican nomination in 2016, and has a solid hatred for the former strategic adviser of the US President Steve Bannon and Breitbart News, where he worked for a while. He believes that Americans elected Trump primarily out of visceral detestation for Hillary Clinton.
On his Facebook page, Ben Shapiro rarely talks about the incumbent president. His favorite subjects rather concern the drifts of wokeism, a contemptuous term for all progressive thinking, which he considers out of control. He has long been fascinated by the subject: he first gained fame when he was a student when he wrote his first best-selling book on the alleged ideological control of the left on American campuses. Every day, Mr. Shapiro publishes a dozen messages highlighting incidents in leftist protests, news items or statements he considers shocking by public figures.
Most often, his messages refer to The Daily Wire, conservative news site he co-founded, which also produces his podcasts and video columns. Articles have been featured in the most shared content lists on Facebook for several years.
“Breitbart News”, still alive and well
We could almost have believed Breitbart News, the site long run by Steve Bannon – whom he left to become Donald Trump's campaign manager in 2016 -, dead and buried. Steve Bannon has long since fallen out of favor, and no longer has the President of the United States' ear; Breitbart News has faced an erosion of its advertisers and a dizzying drop in readership from 2017, according to figures from the specialist company Comscore. A flagship site of the alternative right, ” Breitbart News has experienced a long decline “, noted the Washington post in summer 2019.
Yet Facebook data paints a very different picture, in which interest in “Most partisan site in the United States”, as the results of a 2018 poll described, hasn't really gone down. Over the past year, and with nearly 270 million interactions, the site's Facebook page has been more shared, “liked” or commented on than that of the CNN channel (207 million interactions). The editorial line of Breitbart, violently anti-Islam and anti-immigration, still seems to be successful; his followers' discussions simply take place less on his site and more on his Facebook page.
Dan Bongino, the not-so-secret agent
Unlike many American political commentators, Dan Bongino has long worked in another profession. Entered the New York police, he was then promoted to the famous Secret Service, in charge of the protection of the President of the United States, where he served under the mandates of George W. Bush and Barack Obama, before being retrained. in politics. A multiple unsuccessful candidate for the Republican nomination for Congress in several states, he was never able to get elected – in 2016 his campaign suffered a fatal blow after a conversation was published in which he insulted a journalist.
Since then, Mr. Bongino has had an obsession: “Owning the libs” (“Be leftist”), as he summed it up in 2018. Armed with snatches of conversations he claims to have heard when he worked in the White House, as well as his 3.2 million Facebook subscribers, the he former law enforcement official publishes a large number of messages calling for support for the police in the face of the protesters. He also defends several conspiracy theories which would like Donald Trump to have been or still be illegally monitored by the FBI, when he does not attack the media – which he says he suspects of being all corrupt – or that he does not criticize not the management of large democratic cities.
Franklin Graham, the evangelical
Franklin Graham has faith in God and Donald Trump. This media evangelical didn't wait for Facebook to build her career. Son of the famous Baptist preacher Billy Graham, he was a regular guest of American talk shows before the birth of the social network, where he was already developing his positions for the war in Iraq and against Islam or homosexuality. On the social network, where he has nearly 9 million subscribers, the man is a superstar, which unites conservative Americans.
On his page, he alternates quotes from the Bible and calls to prayer for the police and for the victims of the fires in the west of the country. For him, politics and religion go hand in hand, as at the end of August, when he deplored “The absence of God” in the Democratic convention. Unlike other influential figures in the Facebook “three-sphere”, Franklin Graham posts relatively infrequently – on some days, not at all. A specificity that makes its audience figures all the more impressive, regular posts being a basic practice to attract – and retain – a large audience on Facebook.
“The Daily Caller”, the rival of “Breitbart News”
Founded by conservative commentator Tucker Carlson, who has since left the media, the Daily Caller has 5.4 million Facebook subscribers, and ranks among the most popular social networking sites in the United States every week. Its editorial line is that of the hardest right: the site regularly publishes articles denying the reality of climate change, is opposed to the Black Lives Matter movement, to the right to abortion … The site has also maintained direct links with established white supremacists; he has published articles by Jason Kessler, the organizer of the neo-Nazi demonstration in Charlottesville, Virginia in 2017, in which a far-right activist drove his car into the crowd.
The Daily Caller is also a business and a non-profit foundation. The two entities practice a form of mixing of genres that raises suspicions of tax evasion on the company: the articles are written by employees of the foundation, which benefits from tax advantages, then disseminated by the website of the Daily Caller, who earns him a profit by selling advertising. The Daily Caller defends itself by asserting that the foundation produces articles freely distributable by whoever wishes.
Finally, the Daily Caller has repeatedly published false or willfully misleading information, including an article claiming that the emails from Hillary Clinton's private server had been hacked by Chinese hackers – something that has never been proven. This did not prevent checkyourfact.com, a site published by the Daily Caller, to join the list of official Facebook partners to fight against disinformation (including The world is also part).
For America, for the United States, and especially for Trump
Credited as one of the biggest contributors to Donald Trump's election in 2016, For America is very powerful on Facebook, with over 7 million subscribers. Presenting itself as a patriotic account, and with the currency “Make freedom go viral, click by click”, For America broadcasts a large number of hijacks and parodies, carefully crafted for their virality. The site and its Facebook page, edited by a conservative foundation, proudly display the thanks of Vice President Mike Pence, who sent his “Thanks and those of President Trump” at For America.
Media chief David Bozell made no secret of his purpose in an interview with the New York Times in 2016: “We want to bring people to our site, but that's not our primary goal. This is the first lesson of marketing: you have to go where people are already “ – namely on Facebook, which he described as a “Free market for conservatism”.
David J. Harris Jr, rallying African Americans to Trump
“As a black man, conservative, father, husband, Christian, I couldn't stay silent any longer”, explains David J. Harris Jr in the presentation of his book, Why I Couldn’t Stay Silent (“Why I couldn't stay silent”, 2018, untranslated). Always smiling, charismatic, he is also customary to viral bursts – in July, he delayed the departure of an aerial flight because he refused to wear a mask and broadcast the scene live on Instagram, wearing a 'a “Make America Great Again” cap, the slogan of Donald Trump's campaign in 2016.
Anti-Islam, anti-masks, David J. Harris Jr is also a spokesperson for the Trumpist discourse among African Americans. He considers that the catastrophic situation in which, according to him, the American black community is due above all to the policies carried out by the Democrats.
Mr. Harris Jr. particularly targets the theory, very popular in the American right, according to which the destruction of the traditional family unit, supported by the left and family planning, made the situation worse in the poor and predominantly black neighborhoods, which count the largest proportions of single mothers in the country. He is also on the board of the organization Black Voices For Trump and Blexit, a fiercely anti-democratic organization aimed at black Americans.
PragerU, connected videos and shale gas
This is the Now This (or Brut, in France) of the American right: a trendy medium, aimed at young people, which publishes a large number of well-edited, short and dynamic videos, espousing the codes of media for young adults. Its very neutral slogan, “The most important ideas in less than five minutes”, however, hides a resolutely republican media, which does not advertise itself as such. Some of its presenters are directly involved in the campaign, such as C. J. Pearson, who directs Teens for Trump (“Teens for Trump”).
Followed by more than 4.3 million people, PragerU regularly broadcasts videos with very questionable factually content. It is directly managed by Prager University. The association got started with funding from the Wilks Brothers, billionaire conservatives who made their fortune in shale gas exploitation – the outlet has posted videos that downplay man's role in global warming.
Diamond And Silk, the Trumpist sisters
Diamond And Silk are a scathing duo of sisters: These conservative and exuberant commentators rose to prominence nationally when they accused Facebook of censorship in 2016, at the heart of the presidential campaign. Spotted by Donald Trump's campaign team, the two YouTubers attended several of his rallies, before getting their own Fox News column – a long way for those African-American women who initially voted Democratic.
The cable channel ended their collaboration after Diamond And Silk aired conspiracy theories about the coronavirus. On the social network, which they continue to accuse regularly of censorship, they broadcast both sketches and verses from the Bible, between two photos in the company of Donald Trump and promotional images for gourds in their effigy.
Dinesh D’Souza, the apostle of the conspiracy
Twelve books, four documentaries – and a fifth coming October 9: Dinesh D’Souza is a prolific author who doesn't bother too much with facts. Just one example: his documentary Death of a Nation, released in 2018, describes Adolf Hitler as a “Man of the left” and one “Ally of the LGBTQ community”, without a word for the victims deported to the concentration camps because they were homosexual.
On his Facebook page, he alternately broadcasts praise for Donald Trump and false or unsourced information, claiming, for example, that it was extreme left activists who started the fires that ravaged California in September. As opposed to wearing the compulsory mask as against “Mass media” and the “Antifa vandals”Mr. D’Souza received a pardon from Donald Trump in 2018 – he was convicted in 2014 for an illegal campaign financing operation.