Public opinion
9 min

The distorted reality of Ukrainian Facebook: what online media Ukrainians read on Facebook

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Public opinion

About the project

Note: This project was conducted as part of Artellence and, together with similar projects, became a prerequisite for the creation of the NGO Association for the Development of Big Data and Information Technology of Ukraine with the involvement of experts who directly implemented this project.

We studied 100 Facebook pages that are the most popular among Ukrainians. The research defined the leaders in terms of the number of likes on their pages, who has the most readers among the Ukrainian population, which media outlets use bots for promotion, and who is best at engaging the audience.

The purpose of the study is to highlight which media outlets have the greatest influence on public opinion on social media.

Why this is important?

The media are trying to influence public opinion in various ways: by raising their ratings with bots, publishing hype news, etc. This analysis of the media on social networks will help to be more critical of different sources and increase information literacy among the Ukrainian population.

Research methodology

Research period: from November 2018 to March 2019 inclusive.

  • we selected 100 Facebook pages that are the most popular among Ukrainian users;
  • among them, 30 pages were manually identified that can be defined as news, i.e. they publish news content and/or their page category is defined as "news and media";
  • 30 Facebook pages of the most popular websites according to the The Ukrainian Internet Association as of January 2019 were added to the list. Since eight media outlets in both samples were the same, a total of 52 Facebook pages were analyzed;
  • the data includes all posts published by these Facebook pages from November 2018 to March 2019.

Terms and categories used in the analysis:

  • likes — he number of users who liked the page (this indicator does not include those who subscribed to the page but did not "like" it);
  • Ukrainians — he number of Ukrainian users who liked the page. These are personal pages of users for which you can define the geographical location of their profile, and this is Ukraine;
  • bots — are personal pages that post the same comments under different posts, which look prepared in advance, and those that do not look like real people when you visually analyze their profiles;
  • inactive users — profiles without a face in the avatar, no posts since November 2018, and with less than 20 friends;
  • the total number of posts (publications or posts) on the media outlet's page during the studied period;
  • number of textual publications — publications containing at least five significant words.

Results of the study

By the number of likes on the page:

  • is one the first position;
  • Politeka is on the second position;
  • hese publications also appeared in the KIIS survey. 2.3% of respondents said that they read (9th place), and 3.3% - Politeka (6th place). The level of trust in these media outlets is 1.5% and 1.6%, respectively (for comparison: the leader of the KIIS poll, Obozrevatel, is read by 7.6% of respondents and trusted by 4.1%).

In our opinion, the most interesting finding in the top 10 most popular pages is RT channel, which is ranked 4th. In addition to a large number of subscribers, the Russian propaganda outlet also generated the largest number of posts (2846) during the analyzed time frame. However, only 14% of them are textual, i.e., significant according to the research methodology described above.

By the number of Ukrainians:

  • the Facebook page of Segodnya newspaper has the largest percentage of Ukrainian profiles of the total number of page likes among the 52 pages analyzed - 97%;
  • the share of Ukrainians for Obozrevatel and UNIAN is 70%;
  • Correspondent has 64%;
  • the audience of RT, Komsomolskaya Pravda, and Argumenty i Fakty is predominantly non-Ukrainian. Nevertheless, these pages are prominent in the Ukrainian segment of Facebook;
  • in terms of the percentage of "Ukrainianness" of the audience of Facebook pages, followed by Segodnya: Abomus - Ukraine, News of Ukraine and the World, Vesti-UA,,;
  • the least number of Ukrainians is presented on the Facebook pages of Argumenty i Fakty and Komsomolskaya Pravda. Although the posts from the latter media outlet have the highest rate of shares and likes, it is likely that they are not shared by Ukrainians.

The percentage of bots on the pages:

  • for and Politeka, this figure is 0.1% and 0.2% of the total number of page likes, respectively;
  • in general, bots do not actively subscribe to pages (the share of bots among the likes does not exceed 2%), but they actively comment on them (on some pages, the share of comments from bots reaches 20%);
  • the number of bot comments is especially high on the pages of well-known Ukrainian media outlets that are in the UIA rating. In this study, we only track comments related to text posts. Well-known media outlets have more text posts, which may explain why our data shows more bot comments in high-quality media.

Which news outlets write the most and how they are commented on:

  • if we analyze all 52 pages by the number of text posts, the first 7 media outlets will be from the UIA rating: UNIAN, TSN, Censor.NET,, Channel 24, Dmitriy Gordon, and Ukrayinska Pravda. This means that lesser-known media outlets write mostly shorter and less important posts in terms of word count, which can be summaries of videos or photos;
  • in terms of the share of text posts in the total number of text posts to the total number of posts, the leader is the Facebook page with 100%. is on the second place with 99%. The third place with 97% is shared by Dmitriy Gordon, Ukrainska Pravda and UNIAN. For comparison, the most popular Facebook pages have 16% ( and 14% (Politeka) of significant text publications, the lowest rates for this parameter among the 30 online media outlets on the UIA list;
  • the TSN page has the largest number of comments and commentators, which is an indicator of the activity of their audience. That is, the content that is published makes people want to respond and discuss it. At the same time, the TSN page has one of the highest rates of inactive users - 8.1%, but judging by the activity on the page, the presence of such inactive "ballast" among its subscribers does not affect the interest of the rest of its followers;
  • after TSN, in the category of top Facebook pages, Zvistka news page, and have the most commenters., and have the most comments;
  • the pages of 24 Channel and Komsomolskaya Pravda also have a large number of commenters, as do and Censor.NET. However, 12% ( and 13% (Censor.NET) of the comments on these pages are from bots. The most interesting thing though is that bots comment the most on these two pages, with an average of 12.7 comments per profile. Perhaps some textual materials were too resonant and/or expressed a certain position that bots came to comment on;
  • among the ten pages most frequently commented on by bots are 7 online media outlets: TSN,, Censor.NET, Ukrayinska Pravda, RBC-Ukraine, BBC News Ukrainian, Channel 24, and three that are not on the IAU list:, and This may mean that online media outlets are quite influential and therefore under the scrutiny of those who may use bots for their own purposes;
  • on average, text posts on, Zvistka - the news page, and Novosti ( have the most likes. At the same time, the News page had only 5 text posts with an average number of 824 likes each;
  • has the highest number of shares, with an average of 1219 shares, Narod ( - 764, and Zvistka - news page - 591. As we can see, online resources that are not on the UIA list have more likes and shares on average than other media outlets.

Additional materials

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1. Publish this research to highlight which media outlets have the greatest influence on public opinion on social media;
2. Repeating such studies periodically and recording changes can demonstrate changes in public opinion and media influence. From such studies, a large study of the development and changes in the Ukrainian media can be raised;
3. Publish the results of such studies to provide transparency to the Ukrainian information space.


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