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 October 17th to October 23rd, 2019.

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

  1. Opinion | Our Republic Is Under Attack From the President | The New York Times
  2. State Department probe of Clinton emails finds no deliberate mishandling of classified information | The Washington Post
  3. Sallie Mae execs tan at Maui retreat while student debt crisis tops $1.6 trillion | NBC
  4. Trump has awarded next year’s G-7 summit of world leaders to his Miami-area resort, the White House said | The Washington Post
  5. Diplomat who raised alarm about withholding aid to Ukraine testifies in impeachment probe | The Washington Post

As was the case most weeks in recent memory, political scandal led the way in terms of most-talked-about news over the past seven days. Unusually, a New York Times op-ed was the most-talked-about story. Given the source and nature of the piece, however – Admiral McRaven, a former commander of the United States Special Operations Command teeing off against the President – perhaps its success isn’t particularly surprising.

In addition to McRaven’s withering assessment, President Trump was the subject of two more of the week’s top stories – a piece about the since-reversed decision to host the next G-7 summit at one of the President’s resorts, and another on the ongoing impeachment proceedings. The President was also largely responsible, albeit not recently, for another of the week’s top stories: without his intervention in the 2016 electoral cycle, it is unlikely that the State Department probe of Hillary Clinton’s emails would ever have been launched, let alone quietly dismissed last week.

Finally, a story about student loan company execs taking an elaborate retreat struck a nerve with social media users this week. As we will see below, the intervention of a leading contender for the Democratic nomination played a significant role in widening awareness of that particular article.

The 10 Most Used Hashtags of the Week

  1. #FoxNews
  2. #BTS
  3. #Trump
  4. #TruthExposed
  5. #MAGA
  6. #ImpeachTrump
  7. #OneVoice1
  8. #KeepAmericaGreat
  9. #WheresLindsey
  10. #KenStarr

For the second time in a handful of weeks, Korean pop group #BTS put everything else on the planet (except #FoxNews) into the shade. News that the group opened both a new brick-and-mortar store and a new TikTok account quickly whipped fans into a frenzy, with the latter announcement gaining so much traction that the group promptly set the record for the fastest TikTok account ever to gain 1 million followers.

Elsewhere, the impeachment inquiry continued to captivate Twitter users, with #TruthExposed – a hashtag used largely by pro-impeachment supporters – making its debut in the top ten. Also debuting this week was #WheresLindsey, a popular hashtag for those seeking to point out differences in public comments made by Republican Senator Lindsey Graham over the ongoing investigation compared to his positions during President Clinton’s impeachment trial.

In another echo of the last Presidential impeachment process, #KenStarr – the author of the key report that led to President Clinton’s impeachment by the house – took aim at the legitimacy of the current process this week. The resulting backlash saw his name crack the top 10 in the blink of an eye, as supporters on both sides of the current process piled on to comment.

The Five Most Shared Tweets of the Week 

In a week filled with news of political maneuvering, it’s not altogether unsurprising that the top individual tweet was a somewhat surreal response to a picture of a group of politicians.

Elsewhere, presidential candidate Bernie Sanders set the Twitterati aflame with a strong take on student debt; BTS got the kind of attention for a new commercial enterprise that “earned media” really doesn’t seem to cover it; and two of the country’s leading newspapers saw their editorial processes get publicly roasted in a pair of highly pithy zingers.

1. We can’t see anything else now either

2. Millennial catnip

3. BTS can do no wrong

4. The New York Times receives flak for its Clinton coverage…

5. …while the Post’s motives are also questioned

Want more while you wait for next week’s edition of The Labs Report? Check out our latest special report, “The Next Decade of Communications: Data Analytics Trends and Takeaways for 2020 and Beyond.”

Be sure to also take a read through our latest presidential debate debrief blog, peruse tips for your 2020 comms budget planning and learn more about how Zignal helps brand leaders become more successful.

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Methodology: The data which drives this series, provided by the Zignal Labs platform, is informed by a 10% sampling of Twitter activity around news stories published from October 17th to October 23rd, 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 October 17th to October 23rd, 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 October 17th to October 23rd, 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 October 17th to October 23rd, 2019 that received the most Retweets, ranked by number of Retweets from that date range.