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 3rd to October 9th, 2019.

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

  1. Opinion | The Rich Really Do Pay Lower Taxes Than You | The New York Times
  2. ‘Joker’ hits movie theaters with controversy and extra security | CNN
  3. Trump raised Biden with Xi in June call housed in highly-secure server | CNN
  4. Trump’s calls with foreign leaders have long worried aides, leaving some ‘genuinely horrified’ | The Washington Post
  5. Trump Ordered to Turn Over 8 Years of Tax Returns to the Manhattan D.A. | The New York Times

The big news, from a social media perspective, is that the impeachment investigation swirling around the Trump administration did not take all five of the week’s top slots. Not only that, but it was surpassed in the week’s rankings by articles on two subjects that are clearly nearer and dearer to Americans’ hearts: taxes and the new Joker movie. 

Of course, the impeachment investigation isn’t really going anywhere, with CNN, The Washington Post and The New York Times all scoring top articles this week with different scoops related to the proceedings. The extent to which you’re likely to read a variation of that sentence in the weeks and months ahead seems to depend on a handful of factors: the public’s continued appetite for such stories, the duration of the impeachment process itself and, apparently, the hotness of takes around pop culture events.

The 10 Most Used Hashtags of the Week

  1. #FoxNews
  2. #Ukraine
  3. #Trump
  4. #China
  5. #UkraineGate
  6. #ImpeachTrump
  7. #KangarooCourt
  8. #HongKong
  9. #MAGA
  10. #Whistleblower

In contrast to the top stories of the week, the majority of the most-used hashtags over the past seven days are deeply ingrained in the political realm. Impeachment-related topics are largely responsible for the popularity of #Ukraine, #UkraineGate, #ImpeachTrump, #KangarooCourt and #Whistleblower – and they’re almost certainly behind many of the mentions of #Trump and #China as well.

Elsewhere, an explosion of interest in the NBA and #China (which was spurred following a tweet in support of #HongKong protestors by an NBA executive) drove a lot of commentary around both hashtags.

The Five Most Shared Tweets of the Week

Responses to just three stories were responsible for the top five tweets of the week and, as hinted at above, none of them were impeachment-related.

If there’s one theme that runs through all five, it’s outrage: each of the top tweets harnessed indignation over The New York Times’ taxation story, CNN’s take on the Joker movie or a government policy designed to slow immigration.

One other interesting takeaway from this week’s tweets is the extent to which the narrative around something as complex as taxation can be altered with just a couple of hundred characters and a well-placed infographic. Given the right framing, something that is typically seen as dry and arcane can go viral in minutes – and threaten to upend thinking on decades of policy.

1. Charts + taxation =  viral content.

2. CNN’s take on Joker is not popular…

*Potentially offensive language is blurred in this tweet.

3. …but is it also dangerous?

4. Taxation gets some representation

5. AOC pulls no punches

Want more data-driven insights while you wait for next week’s edition of The Labs Report? Check out tips for your 2020 comms budget planning or learn more about the new partnership between the NFL and Reddit via our data-driven analysis.

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, provided by the Zignal Labs platform, is informed by a 10% sampling of Twitter activity around news stories published from October 3rd to October 9th, 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 3rd to October 9th, 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 3rd to October 9th, 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 3rd to October 9th, 2019, that received the most Retweets, ranked by number of Retweets from that date range.