Happy New Decade, and welcome to the first Labs Report of 2020! To help you get back up to speed after our hiatus during the holidays, this edition of The Labs Report covers all of the trending topics and influential stories since we last published. 

Here’s what was trending on Twitter from December 19th, 2019 to January 8th, 2020.

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

  1. Behind the Ukraine Aid Freeze: 84 Days of Conflict and Confusion | The New York Times
  2. Anguish and Anger From the Navy SEALs Who Turned In Edward Gallagher | The New York Times
  3. Former White House officials say they feared Putin influenced the president’s views on Ukraine and 2016 campaign | The Washington Post
  4. White House Withholds 20 Emails Between Two Trump Aides on Ukraine Aid | The New York Times
  5. Opinion | Jeff Flake: The president is on trial. So are my Senate Republican colleagues. | The Washington Post

As the year drew to an end, it was perhaps fitting that four of the five top stories over the last few weeks concerned the issue that came to dominate 2019: the roots of the Ukraine scandal that led to President Trump being impeached by the House in December. The fifth story, meanwhile – and the second-most-talked-about over the period we examined – was a New York Times piece that detailed how the initial case against recently-pardoned Navy SEAL Edward Gallagher had been constructed.

In terms of outlets, The Times and The Washington Post dominated the festive period, taking all of the top five slots between them, with The Times leading the way with not just the most entries (three), but grabbing the top two slots as well. 

The 10 Most Used Hashtags of the Period

  1. #FoxNews
  2. #Soleimani
  3. #Iran
  4. #MAGA
  5. #Trump
  6. #China
  7. #OneVoice1
  8. #QasemSoleimani
  9. #demdebate
  10. #GoldenGlobes

We’re not saying that the world has moved on from #impeachment, but check out that top 10: it’s nowhere to be found in the list of hashtags that dominated the twitterverse over the festive period.

However, to be fair, hashtags tend to reflect recent news, and there have been much more pressing events happening in #Iran, with the fallout from the drone strike that killed #QasemSoleimani proving to be one of the leading topics, despite its relatively late entry in terms of the period we examined for this report.

Elsewhere, the old standards of #FoxNews, #MAGA, #Trump and #OneVoice1 all made an appearance, while the lack of a truly viral moment meant that the #GoldenGlobes only just scraped into the top 10.

The Five Most Shared Tweets of the Period

The holiday season seems to have been a relatively quiet period on Twitter, with few truly viral moments of which to speak. The most-shared post came directly from the President, focusing on efforts to remove MS-13 gang members from the country.

Elsewhere, the situation in Iran saw some traction, with two of the top five tweets being about events in the country of late.

It wasn’t all politics, however: in addition to our first viral animal photo of the decade, the start of the year also underlined the power of Twitter to shed light on underreported issues by highlighting an important New York Times story on the treatment of US garment industry workers.

1. The President touts a success

2. On garment industry exploitation

3. A Soleimani take

4. Cute animal Twitter is alive and well in 2020

5. A GOP chairwoman scores some points

Want more while you wait for next week’s edition of The Labs Report? Visit our Resource Center and get in touch with our team to find out more about how Zignal Labs can help you measure the real-time evolution of opinion to drive more powerful campaigns, products, and experiences.

Methodology: The data which drives this series is informed by a 10% sampling of Twitter activity around news stories published from December 19th, 2019 to January 8th, 2020. 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 Period” are the five stories from the above-mentioned publications that received the most mentions across Twitter from December 19th, 2019 to January 8th, 2020, ranked by number of mentions from that date range.
The “Ten Most Used Hashtags of the Period “ are the ten hashtags that were mentioned the most on Twitter around Tweets related to news stories published by the above-mentioned publications from December 19th, 2019 to January 8th, 2020, ranked by number of mentions from that date range.
The “Top Five Most Shared Tweets of the Period” are the five Tweets, related to news stories published by the above-mentioned publications from December 19th, 2019 to January 8th, 2020 that received the most Retweets, ranked by number of Retweets from that date range.