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Facebook and Twitter top twenty: The Independent stories you've been sharing this year


From drunken nights out with a llama to testicle-eating fishes, it’s a mixed bag of stories you’ve been sharing on social media in 2013.

Among the top twenty Independent articles you’ve been tweeting and posting on Facebook this year, there are serious reports, ferocious comment pieces, astounding research and a fair few articles that pay tribute to the adage ‘the truth is stranger than fiction.’

One of the latter was this report from September where a team of British scientists were convinced they had found proof of alien life, after harvesting strange particles from the edge of space. Was it the suggestion of extraterrestrials that got you clicking? Or was it the fact that this alien life was found about 27km above Chester?

You were also suppressing sniggers over the Catholic church.  We reported in March that as cardinals gathered to elect the Pope, Catholic officials were breaking into a sweat over the fact that priests would share a new €23m building with a huge gay sauna. Catholicism saw you sharing again when Pope Francis apparently assured atheists that you don’t have to believe in God to go to heaven. Unfortunately the Vatican later sought to clarify his remarks.

Outrage moved you too. A story that reported how police were seizing the possessions of rough sleepers in a crackdown on homeless people was shared tens of thousands of times. Amongst the most-shared was also a report on how Islam’s most holy relics were being demolished in Mecca.

Our columnists Mark Steel and Owen Jones were popular writers on social networks too, with Steel’s brilliant satire entitled ‘The poor spend all the money. Isn’t it obvious?’ making the top twenty alongside Owen Jones’s Farewell to the NHS.

There were other stories you were sharing too (including one about how a prosthetic leg was mistaken for a paedophile). Take a look at the full list below

The list in full:

1. Drunken French teenagers abduct a circus llama and take him on a tram ride

2. Bites reported across London and Kent as south east sees influx of Britain's most poisonous spider

3. Sun will 'flip upside down' within weeks, says Nasa

4. British public wrong about nearly everything, survey shows

5. Christmas comes early: Justin Bieber is 'retiring from music'

6. Testicle-eating fish, the Pacu, found in Paris with fears it could be coming to the UK

7. Pope Francis assures atheists: You don’t have to believe in God to go to heaven

8. Hong Kong braced for 'strongest storm on earth' as 180mph monster Super-Typhoon Usagi gains strength over the Pacific

9. The truth IS out there (above Cheshire, that is): British scientists claim to have found proof of alien life

10. Manchester Museum bosses puzzled by ancient Egyptian statue which mysteriously turns itself

11. Children evacuated from swimming pool after prosthetic leg mistaken for paedophile

12. The photos Saudi Arabia doesn't want seen – and proof Islam's most holy relics are being demolished in Mecca

13. Vladimir Putin nominated for Nobel Peace Prize

14. Farewell to the NHS, 1948-2013: a dear and trusted friend finally murdered by Tory ideologues

15. Police seize possessions of rough sleepers in crackdown on homelessness

16. Beliebers start Twitter hate campaign against English schoolgirl who criticised Justin Bieber

17. Feminist parody of Robin Thicke's 'Blurred Lines' removed from YouTube for being 'inappropriate'

18. As cardinals gather to elect Pope, Catholic officials break into a sweat over news that priests share €23m building with huge gay sauna

19. Of course you don’t need qualified teachers in free schools. Or qualified brain surgeons, for that matter

20. The poor spend all the money. Isn’t it obvious?