In a year which saw the world shocked by the 7-1 thumping of Brazil in the Maracana by European heavyweight Germany during a scintillating World Cup – the year’s most popular topic – a relatively-short conflagration in the Hamas-ruled Strip still managed to draw the sixth place on the Top 10 world list.
The eyes of the world were on Brazil not only as it struggled to stage the premier global sporting event, but also after the curtains closed and Germany flew back to the motherland with their coveted prize. The elections in Brazil were there the third most popular topic worldwide – incumbent Dilma Rousseff, the country’s first female president, managed to fight off her competitors in the closest presidential race since 1989.
Despite the diplomatic drama after Russia made fresh claims on the Crimean peninsula and the exorbitant investment President Putin put in to staging what was billed as the “the most expensive Olympics in history”, the dismal performance of Sochi earned only the bottom spot on Facebook’s global Top 10 topics.
In the US, however, soccer has been lagging in popularity behind the Big Three sports, leaving the world cup in sixth place. Instead, the topic foremost on Americans minds was the nearly 18,000 reported cases and some 6,000 killed in the Ebola virus outbreak in West Africa.
It was an eventful year in the United States but third and fifth most popular topics showed Americans were sharing their grief and disillusionment with each other – and not just videos of friends dunking frozen water to raise money for the ALS foundation.
The sudden, surprising suicide of beloved comedy icon and movie star Robin Williams was the third most discussed topic on Facebook, as millions of young and old fans alike took to sharing their favorite quotes, movies, and stand-up routines of the legendary comic.
The police shooting of an unarmed black teenager in Ferguson was the fifth most shared topic on the social network, with numerous controversies stoking the flames of an already-heated debate over the excessive use of force by police against minorities.
Surprisingly – or not, depending on your cynicism – the summer war between Israel and Palestinian militants in Gaza beat out the midterm elections to place seventh of the Top 10 list, edging out the Malaysian Airlines mystery and the emergence of radical terror group Islamic State as a dominant player in the Middle East.