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Pope Francis, Miley Cyrus and a Briton winning Wimbledon: Facebook's 2013 year in review unveiled

New charismatic pontiff became a social media phenomenon in 2013

Social media phenomenon Pope Francis was the most popular topic globally on Facebook, ahead of the royal baby Prince George, the Harlem Shake and controversial US star Miley Cyrus.

The new charismatic pontiff is a champion of the poor and has clearly lifted the gloom felt by the Catholic Church which was under siege from scandal. Whether he was making friendly overtures to other faiths or embracing a man severely disfigured by disease – Francis drove more conversation than anyone else in 2013.

"Election" was the second most mentioned term worldwide this year, according to research carried out by Facebook themselves, with high-profile national polls in India, Kenya, Iran and Italy.

The arrival, naming and christening of Prince George ranked higher (third place) than Typhoon Haiyan (fourth) which killed 5,924 in the Philippines. Baroness Thatcher’s death and funeral (fifth) generated sympathy and jubilation alike. 

Miley Cyrus (seventh), whose controversial video for Wrecking Ball became VEVO's most popular video of 2013, was even criticised by David Cameron after her twerking controversy. Despite her provocative dance routines and antics, she was still beaten by the Harlem Shake into sixth place.

The Boston Marathon bombings and this year’s Tour de France, which was won by Chris Froome, were also amongst Facebook’s most talked about topics.

Users took to the social network immediately after Nelson Mandela's death last week. 55 million people had over 115 million interactions on Facebook globally related to the passing of the anti-apartheid leader. The former South African President entered the top 10 list as users reacted to his death with tributes and by posting his most memorable quotes.


The nation waited 77 years for the Wimbledon men’s title so it’s not a surprise that Andy Murray’s grand-slam victory drove more conversation than any other event this year in the UK. The death of former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher in April was a social and a political event and the second-most talked about topic in 2013 but Murray’s three-set victory over Novak Djokovic proved to be more of a talking point.

Bayern Munich's 2-1 Champions League final victory against Borussia Dortmund at Wembley on May 25, came in third.

The Duchess of Cambridge's birth to Prince George was the fourth most talked.

Sir Alex Ferguson decision to bring to a close nearly 27 years at Old Trafford as Manchester United manager shocked the football loving public whilst the release of the latest Call of Duty title created a huge social media buzz.

The Coalition’s controversial ‘bedroom tax’, which critics say is inflicting misery on the less fortunate in the country, proved to be a contentious and heavily debated subject this year. 

Top 10: Most talked about topics globally

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

Top 10: Most talked about topics in the UK

1. Andy Murray wins the Wimbledon Championships (July)

2. Baroness Margaret Thatcher passes away (April)

3. Bayern Munich & Borussia Dortmund contest the Uefa Champions League Final at Wembley Stadium (May)

4. The Duchess of Cambridge gives birth to Prince George (July)

5. Sir Alex Ferguson steps down as manager of Manchester United (May)

6. Call of Duty: Ghosts released on X-Box 360 and PS3 (November)

7. England retain the Ashes in cricket (August)

8. The X-Factor returns to UK screens (August)

9. The ‘Bedroom Tax’ is introduced in the UK (April)

10. Grand theft Auto 5 released on X-Box 360 and PS3 (September)