According to the study of 50 online publishers, the BBC has the top spot for Twitter shares, with more than 2 million (2,041,926) articles shared last month.
The study was carried out by NewsWhip, an Ireland-based company which used its Spike tool to gather data. Researchers looked at shares in August for the top 50 online publishers in terms of social interactions.
BuzzFeed tops the Facebook list, followed by the Huffington Post, CNN and then the BBC. Viral content site Upworthy, followed by the New York Times are next on the list.
As Paul Quigley, chief executive of NewsWhip pointed out in this blog post, three of the top five publishers are online-only.
"Of August’s top five most social outlets on Facebook three are online-only publishers – BuzzFeed, the Huffington Post and Upworthy. All three are focused on publishing share-friendly content, and getting it shared. In particular the Huffington Post has shifted most effectively from its SEO (search optimised) roots to the current SMO (social optimised) reality."
The Daily Mail is eighth on the list, while the Guardian is 10th.
NewsWhip provided Journalism.co.uk with the data, which shows the Mail had 1.3 million shares, 1.4 million Facebook likes and 1.2 million comments in August. The Guardian had 1.3 million shares, 1.4 million likes and 880,000 comments.
The Telegraph had 460,000 shares, 580,000 likes and 360,000 comments; the Independent had 400,000 shares, 450,000 likes and 310,000 comments; and the Mirror had 150,000 shares, 200,000 likes and 137,000 comments.
Journalism.co.uk has created an interactive chart to show the breakdown:
BuzzFeed, at the top of the list, had 3.8 million article shares, 7.8 million likes and 4.3 million comments on Facebook in August.
BuzzFeed, which was founded in 2006, was originally known for its cat GIFs and lists, but has expanded to include political journalism, breaking news and long-form content.
As Quigley says: "BuzzFeed has published several long-form journalism pieces that have gone viral – though not at the same scale as their most successful listicles."
The site makes money via native advertising, and is profitable, as co-founder Jonah Peretti revealed in a memo earlier this month.
"We booked record profit in August," Peretti said. "We’ve gone from zero revenue four years ago to a profitable company with over 300 employees."
BuzzFeed launched in the UK in March. It has now taken on new editorial and commercial hires and the rapid expansion has required the team to move to bigger offices.
The BBC is the publishers with the most shared articles on Twitter, according to the study.
This is no doubt aided by links pushed out by @BBCBreaking – which has 7.3 million followers. The BBC is followed by outlets such as Mashable, the New York Times, the Guardian and CNN.
As Quigley points out, "a large number of tech sites are amongst Twitter’s top performers, along with many traditional news outlets".
Social is growing
The study also demonstrates the rise of social. "The big publishers showed a huge increase in share levels", compared with statistics from last year, Quigley wrote.
"In September 2012, NewsWhip measured 44.28 million total Facebook interactions (likes, shares and comments) for the top 50 online publishers. In August 2013, we measured almost 117.5 million interactions for the same cohort – an increase of 165 per cent in under 12 months."
It is worth reading the full blog post from NewsWhip. Here is a link to an article on the Spike tool also: NewsWhip Spike: A powerful tool to monitor news sources