Welcome to this week’s edition of The Labs Report, your one-stop, data-driven shop to quickly get up to speed on the most important and influential stories of the week.

Here’s what was trending on Twitter from November 14th to November 20th, 2019.

The Five Most-Talked-About News Stories of the Week

  1. ‘Absolutely No Mercy’: Leaked Files Expose How China Organized Mass Detentions of Muslims  | The New York Times
  2. Exclusive: After White House meeting, Parnas said he was on a ‘secret mission’ for Trump in Ukraine | CNN
  3. How FedEx Cut Its Tax Bill to $0 | The New York Times
  4. Mainland Chinese Soldiers Take to Hong Kong Streets for First Time During Protests | The Wall Street Journal
  5. Chinese Troops Clean Hong Kong Streets, Prompting Fears | The New York Times

For the first time in a very long time, U.S. news took a back seat in terms of global attention. Given the gravity of some of the stories unfolding here, and the fact that social media platforms in general are dominated by U.S. citizens, the level of conversation around two separate news items related to China cannot be overstated.

Leading the way over the past seven days was The New York Times’ explosive story on mass detentions of China’s Muslim population, while a pair of stories about the deteriorating situation in Hong Kong also made the top five.

U.S. news wasn’t entirely shut out of the cycle, however: CNN scored a major hit with its exclusive on a significant piece of the Trump-Ukraine puzzle, while an article on FedEx’s ability to mitigate its tax obligations rounded out the list for this week. 

The 10 Most Used Hashtags of the Week

  1. #China
  2. #FoxNews
  3. #HongKongProtests
  4. #StandWithHongKong
  5. #香港 (Note: these are the Chinese characters for Hong Kong)
  6. #PolyU
  7. #FreeHongKong
  8. #MAGA
  9. #XinJiang
  10. #Trump

The seriousness of the situation in Hong Kong can also clearly be seen in this week’s roundup of the most popular hashtags: six of the top 10 hashtags are directly related to the protests, while the week’s top hashtag, #China, was partially propelled to the top by inclusion in Hong Kong-related tweets, and partially with people referring to The New York Times’ piece about Muslim detentions in the country. 

The Five Most Shared Tweets of the Week

In yet another indicator of the seriousness of its subject matter, The New York Times’ announcement of its own report on China’s Muslim detention policy was the most-shared tweet of the week – a feat that regular readers of this report will recognize as being extremely rare.

Elsewhere, Republican Senator Josh Hawley had a viral moment with a tweet about the Hong Kong protest, while tweets about the impeachment process and President Trump’s decision to pardon a U.S. soldier also made it into the top five.

1. Ground-breaking reporting makes an impact

2. The world’s eyes are on Hong Kong

3. Speaker Pelosi’s comments make waves

4. A pardoned soldier goes home

5. The Ukraine plot thickens

Want more while you wait for next week’s edition of The Labs Report? Take a read through our latest Story of a Hashtag analysis on #TeamTrees, learn how you can become the adoption champion your team needs and peruse tips for your 2020 budget planning.

Be sure to also visit our Resource Center and get in touch with our team to find out more about how Zignal Labs can help you build and protect your brand.

Methodology: The data which drives this series is informed by a 10% sampling of Twitter activity around news stories published from November 14th  to November 20th, 2019. Stories are published by 25 of the most highly-read publications across the country (based on circulation data), including: ABC News, Bloomberg, The Boston Globe, CBS News, The Chicago Tribune, CNN, The Dallas Morning News, The Denver Post, Fox News, The Houston Chronicle, Huffington Post, The LA Times, MSNBC, NBC News, The New York Daily News, The New York Post, The New York Times, Newsday, Reuters, The Seattle Times, The Star Tribune, The Tampa Bay News, USA Today, The Wall Street Journal and The Washington Post.
The “Top 5 Most-Talked-About Stories of the Week” are the five stories from the above-mentioned publications that received the most mentions across Twitter from November 14th  to November 20th, 2019, ranked by number of mentions from that date range.
The “Ten Most Used Hashtags of the Week “ are the ten hashtags that were mentioned the most on Twitter around Tweets related to news stories published by the above-mentioned publications from November 14th  to November 20th, 2019, ranked by number of mentions from that date range.
The “Top Five Most Shared Tweets of the Week” are the five Tweets, related to news stories published by the above-mentioned publications from November 14th  to November 20th, 2019 that received the most Retweets, ranked by number of Retweets from that date range.