An analysis by USA Today revealed that social media audiences still pick favorites by giving more likes, shares and views to posts about missing white children — especially girls — than missing Black children.
Black children disappear at significantly higher rates than their white counterparts, and it is no surprise that press coverage does not reflect this. It’s also not surprising that social media attention does not reflect this either.
According to an analysis by USA Today, the average number of views on posts about white girls was more than 63,000 in 375 videos that the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children (NCMEC) shared on Facebook. For Black girls, the average number of views was approximately 38,300.
USA TODAY examined the center’s video posts between October 2019 and June of this year, gathering data from the social media tracking tool, CrowdTangle. Reporters went through the posts to confirm each child’s gender, race, and age, and the place and time of their disappearance.
The data revealed that social media audiences still pick favorites by giving more likes, shares and views to posts about missing white children — especially girls — than missing Black children.
NCMEC published the most information about missing Black children based on the latest data. It also discovered that the number of views of posts about Hispanic girls and boys was approximately 62,000 and 58,400, respectively. Posts featuring white boys came in fourth place at 50,670 — and Black boys were in fifth place at approximately 37,550.
“For NCMEC, although we like the engagement, it’s not as important as getting the image in front of the correct people,” said Rebecca Steinbach, a senior producer at NCMEC, according to USA Today.
Researchers have shown that when persons of color disappear, the news media and police pay less attention, a phenomenon described as “missing white woman syndrome.”