The next time you picture Fox News Channel viewers as a graying, conservative lot, just remember, they’re no strangers to social media. The cable news network was the No. 1 brand on Facebook this past quarter, racking up 59 million "engagements" -- likes, comments and shares -- according to a report from the analytics firm Shareablee. Bolstered by coverage of the presidential election season, the Facebook page for the 20-year-old cable behemoth beat out more outwardly youth-oriented brands like BuzzFeed Video and MTV.
Shareablee's scorecard put Fox News on top, followed by the World Wrestling Entertainment network at 49.5 million, BuzzFeed Video at 40.2 and MTV at 39.7. BuzzFeed Food rounded out the top five with 38.6 million.
Fox's command over the realm of social media, or at least over Facebook, is notable given that its average viewer on television is 68 years old (Fox still beats CNN and MSNBC in the 25-54-year-old demo). But its dominance may say as much about Facebook's demographics as it does about its own prowess. Pew Research has sketched a broad portrait of Facebook's user base, and the numbers are telling: As of 2014, older adults are a growing share of the pool, with 63 percent of Internet users aged 50-64 plugged in.
Fox, meanwhile, doesn’t have the same reach on other social media outlets that skew younger. The channel did not crack the top five on either Twitter or Instagram, two platforms that Pew data shows as having a steep drop-off in users above age 50. Last year, only 10 percent of Internet users 65 or older used Twitter, and only 6 percent used Instagram.
Neither Fox News Channel nor Facebook provided demographic information for users passing around Fox's Facebook stories.
The election season has been a supernova for Fox News, from its first Republican debate in April to the salacious coverage of its on-air feud with front-runner Donald Trump. All the hype put Fox at No. 1 for all of basic cable in August, beating out big-scale competitors like ESPN, USA and TNT and hitting an average of nearly 2 million total viewers.
Its presidential debate on Aug. 6 pulled in 24 million viewers, the highest-rated non-sports cable telecast of all time, while the drama involving Trump, Megyn Kelly and Fox News boss Roger Ailes shot ratings up 10 percent over the same time last year.