Facebook’s Year in Review: Nelson Mandela tributes make U.S., world lists


Tributes to Nelson Mandela pushed the late South African icon onto the most-discussed lists for the U.S. and the world. Above, Nelson Mandela poses onstage during the 46664 Concert In Celebration Of Nelson Mandela's Life held at Hyde Park on June 27, 2008 in London, England. (Photo by Gareth Davies/Getty Images) (Gareth Davies/Getty Images)
December 9, 2013

Facebook’s annual snapshot of conversations on its network, released on Monday, showed that tributes to Nelson Mandela earned the late South African icon a place on the list of most-discussed topics of the year. Mandela’s passing last week has already generated over 115 million interactions between 55 million Facebook users across the world — making the news the ninth most-popular topic in the United States for the year, and the tenth most-popular subject for Facebook users around the globe.

In the United States, the most talked about topic was the Super Bowl, which consistently makes the list every year. The U.S. list included many of the same topics that have populated the most-discussed lists from companies such as Yahoo, Ask.com and Bing, including talk of the royal baby, the Boston marathon, the crisis in Syria, the appointment of Pope Francis and the trial of George Zimmerman.

Also on the list: posts about the Harlem Shake meme that went viral earlier in the year — which earned it a fifth-place spot — as well as President Obama’s second inauguration, which came in at number 10. The government shutdown also made the U.S. list, picking up a second-place spot.

The global list featured many of the same topics, but in a completely different order. Facebook’s global users were most interested in talking about Pope Francis, followed by a number of global elections in places such as India, Kenya, Iran and Italy. The royal baby picked up the bronze in the global list, followed by Typhoon Haiyan. The death of former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher also got Facebook’s global users talking, as did discussion of Miley Cyrus and the Tour de France.

Facebook looked at the most-talked about stories by topic in the United States. “Scandal” was the most-discussed television show, and Daft Punk’s “Get Lucky” the most talked-about song — the catchy tune was also the most-played Spotify track on the social network.

Facebook also disclosed the places where users check in the most. People seemed most excited about going to Disneyland — even more than they were about visiting Disneyworld, which came in third. Times Square came in second. And sports fans showed their pride by making Dodger Stadium, AT&T Park, Rangers Ballpark and Fenway Park popular check-in locations, along with the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo.

Most Talked About in 2013 (U.S.)

1. Super Bowl

2. Government Shutdown

3. Boston Marathon

4. Syria Crisis

5. Harlem Shake

6. Pope Francis

7. George Zimmerman

8. Royal Baby

9. Nelson Mandela

10. Presidential Inauguration

Most Talked About in 2013 (World)

1. Pope Francis

2. Election*

3. Royal Baby

4. Typhoon

5. Margaret Thatcher

6. Harlem Shake

7. Miley Cyrus

8. Boston Marathon

9. Tour de France

10. Nelson Mandela

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Hayley Tsukayama covers consumer technology for The Washington Post.
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