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IDF tanks near Gaza Strip
Photo: EPA
Gaza conflict tops Olympics, MH370 on Facebook
American social media network lists summer war between Israel, Palestinians as sixth in global Top 10 topics of 2014.
The 50-day war in Gaza beat out the mysterious disappearance of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 but placed behind the viral Ice Bucket Challenge in Facebook’s recently released Top 10 topics for 2014. The list was based on the total number of posts, likes, comments, and media shared by the social network’s users.

 

 

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.

 

Sami Khedira's fourth goal put Germany up 4 within 30 minutes (Photo: EPA)
Sami Khedira's fourth goal put Germany up 4 within 30 minutes (Photo: EPA)

 

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.


A dove flies over Gaza during Protective Edge (Photo: Reuters)
A dove flies over Gaza during Protective Edge (Photo: Reuters)

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.

 

Israeli athletes at Sochi Winter Olympics (Photo: AFP)
Israeli athletes at Sochi Winter Olympics (Photo: AFP)

 

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.

 

Ebola fighters named as Time's Person of the Year (Photo: Reuters)
Ebola fighters named as Time's Person of the Year (Photo: Reuters)

 

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.

 

IDF artillery firing on targets in Gaza (Photo: AFP) (Photo: AFP)
IDF artillery firing on targets in Gaza (Photo: AFP)

 

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.

 

Robin Williams in 'Good Morning, Vietnam'
Robin Williams in 'Good Morning, Vietnam'

 

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.

 

The Facebook Top 10 topics of 2014 proved once again that the world's attention forever remains on a small stretch of coastline on the Mediterranean's eastern shore, and that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict receives a disproportionate amount of global attention – squeezing out larger international disputes, like the ongoing hostilities between Russia and Ukraine, and symbolic zeitgeist like the campaign against the kidnapping of 237 Nigerian schoolgirls.

 

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