2020 Year in Review and Top Pop Culture Moments

By Naomi Gleit, VP Product and Social Impact

2020 Pop culture

2020 will forever be known as the year that changed us all. While we’re excited to close the chapter on 2020 and head into 2021, we want to share some of the ways people used our products to make this year feel a little less lonely, and a bit more meaningful. No matter where in the world you live, the shared experiences of 2020 brought us together, even while we were apart — and we hope our Year in Review will give you a glimpse into some of those moments.

Our top important moments of 2020 are sorted into six themes to offer context into the ways people shared and experienced them:

Icons: People came to Facebook to commemorate the figures who left a lasting legacy around the world.

  • Kobe Bryant’s passing was this year’s most discussedmoment on Facebook, with the US, Mexico and Philippines sharing the most posts and photos celebrating his life.
  • Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg was commemorated in more than 6 million posts in one day across Facebook and Instagram, with many using the hashtag #restinpower.

Social Awakening: Our global community elevated important issues that mattered to them more than ever.

  • In the three weeks following George Floyd’s death, conversations around Black Lives Matter tripled, with an average of 7.5 million mentions on Facebook every day.
  • With 1.8 million members, The Blackout Coalition — a FB group supporting Black businesses, is the No. 1 largest group among US users.

COVID-19:Under extraordinary circumstances, communities found ways to connect, learn and grow.

  • Throughout March, more than 1.5 million Spaniards posted to express their gratitude for medical staff using #aplausosanitario.
  • Instagram and Facebook Live views doubled in Italy when lockdowns hit, as residents sang on balconies and broadcasted under quarantine. Meanwhile in the US, Facebook Live viewership jumped50%, with many tuning into fitness classes, connecting with artists and more.

Global Politics:With stakes high, people came to our platforms to make their voices heard:

  • Kamala Harris’ Vice Presidential selection announcement was the most mentioned moment in August, drawing more than 10 million posts in one day.
  • Nearly all adults on Facebook and Instagram in the US saw access to our Voting Information Center, which offered authoritative information on how to register to vote, and well as key facts about voting deadlines.

Environmental Causes: Our global community came together to build a better world:

  • More than 1.3 million people globally contributed to the years’largest Facebook fundraiser — and our largest everraising more than $35 million to provide relief for those affected by the Australian wildfires.
  • To date, more than 2.6 million people have raised more than $87 million through Facebook Fundraisers this year to combatclimate change, promote ocean clean up, animal protection efforts, and much more.

Faith & Community:People used our platforms to build and maintain community, even at a distance.

  • Communities rallied to shop local, as more than 47 million stories using the “Support Small Business” sticker were created on Instagram globally in the past 3 months.
  • With in-person services on hold due to COVID-19 lockdowns, the holiday week of April 6 (Easter and Passover) was the biggest for group video calls on Messenger and the most popular week of Facebook Live broadcasts from spiritual Pages, ever.

Top Pop Culture Moments:

New for 2020 is our curated top 10 Pop Culture Moments, which highlight the most fun, wild and lighter moments that brought a little bit of levity to a crazy year. These much-talked about moments generated some of the highest levels of interaction across our apps, and include the following:

  • Michael Jordan’s “The Last Dance” documentary
  • Dave Chappelle’s Netflix special
  • Cardi B and Megan Thee Stallion’s “WAP”
  • Harry Styles – Golden song release
  • Los Angeles Lakers win the 2020 NBA Championship
  • Katy Perry announces her pregnancy via music video
  • “Savage” by Megan Thee Stallion
  • Shakira and Jennifer Lopez’s Super Bowl halftime performance
  • Netflix’s “Tiger King”
  • Andrea Bocelli’s Easter performance from Milan, Italy

In Egypt, some of the most discussed moments included:

  • BeirutBlast
    • On 4 August 2020, 2750 tonnes of the substance (equivalent to around 1.1 kilotons of TNT) ammonium nitrate stored at the port of the city of Beirut, the capital of Lebanon, exploded, causing at least 204 deaths, 6,500 injuries, and US$15 billion in property damage, and leaving an estimated 300,000 people homeless.
  • COVID outbreak on a cruise ship on the nile (in Egypt) leads to boost the international outbreak
    • By the time Egyptian health authorities were informed of a coronavirus case on a Nile cruise ship, the infections had spread around the world. Hundreds of foreign passengers were potentially exposed to the virus between mid-February and early March.
  • Turkey – Egypt relations after intervention in Libya
    • Egypt and Turkey relations deteriorated as both sides supported opposing factions in Libya, with Egypt backing the man who declared war on the Islamists in Libya, Gen Khalifa Haftar and Turkey backing the Tripoli administration which vowed to march on to capture the rest of the country and defeat Gen Haftar totally.
  • Al Ahly vs Zamalek game (Nov)
    • Tensions ran high in Cairo ahead of the African Champions League final featuring perennial rivals Ahly and Zamalek in late November. Derby matches are a notoriously volatile affair and the aftermath of the match won by Al Ahly 2-1 proved no exception, with fans keeping up the heat of battle on social media long after the final whistle.
  • Methodology:

The top themes for this year’s Year in Review were determined by looking at the top 20 moments of the year, and identifying commonalities across those moments and the ways people used different product features and tools, such as Fundraisers and Groups. The top moments of this year’s Year in Review were determined by capturing the top single-day moments throughout the year, and finding the top ways people used Facebook’s apps to come together around these moments. Data reflects activity from January 1 to October 31, 2020.

What do you think?


Written by Ahmed Dahabi


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