Right-wing sourpuss Ben Shapiro's website The Daily Wire is the seventh-ranked publisher on Facebook, according to Popular Information. "On a per article basis," it reports, "The Daily Wire receives more distribution than any other major publisher." Here's how much better The Daily Wire performs than other well-know publishers:
The secret to The Daily Wire's success? It's learned how to "convert bigotry and fear into shares and likes."
Popular Information has discovered a network of large Facebook pages — each built by exploiting racial bias, religious bigotry, and violence — that systematically promote content from The Daily Wire. These pages, some of which have over 2 million followers, do not disclose a business relationship with The Daily Wire. But they all post content from The Daily Wire ten or more times each day. Moreover, these pages post the exact same content from The Daily Wire at the exact same time.
The undisclosed relationship not only helps explain The Daily Wire's unlikely success on Facebook but also appears to violate Facebook's rules.
The network of large Facebook pages promoting The Daily Wire are all run by Corey and Christy Pepple, who are best known as the creators of Mad World News. Facebook pages controlled by the Pepples include Mad World News (2,176,003 followers), The New Resistance (2,857,876 followers), Right Stuff (610,809 followers), America First (577,753 followers), and American Patriot (447,799 followers).
The reach of these pages is massive. Content posted to these five pages has generated more than 31 million engagements on Facebook over the last three months, according to CrowdTangle, an analytics service owned by Facebook. To put that in perspective, the reach of the network over this time period exceeds the New York Times (28 million engagements), the Washington Post (20 million engagements), and HuffPost (19 million engagements).
How did the pages like Mad World News and The New Resistance grow so big? They did it by exploiting racism, religious bigotry, and violence.