The 2016 presidential election dominated global conversations on Facebook in 2015, despite still being a year away. New data released by the social media company on Wednesday shows the number one most-discussed topic of the year on Facebook was the U.S. presidential election. The data measures global conversations on the platform, indicating just how much the rest of the world is interested in this presidential election.
"People are turning to Facebook to ask questions, express their views, and share election news," Erin Egan, Facebook's VP of U.S. Public Policy, told MSNBC.com. "Candidates are using Facebook to reach citizens directly and personally. They are talking about everything from the economy to immigration and getting honest feedback from voters."
"At a time when we are told that voters are alienated there have been more than a billion and a half interactions about an election that is a year away. It is quite hard to fathom. I guess there's a lot more interest and enthusiasm out there than the cynics may think," Egan noted.
The full list of most-discussed topics is below:
1. U.S. presidential election
2. November 13 attacks in Paris
3. Syrian civil war & refugee crisis
4. Nepal earthquakes in April and May
5. The Greek debt crisis
6. Marriage equality
7. The fight against ISIS
8. Charlie Hebdo attack in Paris in January
9. The Baltimore protests
10. Charleston shooting and flag debate
Aside from the U.S. presidential election, the rest of the list featured topics skewed heavily towards news stories, such as ISIS, the Nepal earthquakes, the Paris attacks, and more, and did not include lighter topics, such as pop culture, entertainment, or celebrity news that frequently trend on social media platforms.
"Facebook's where people come together to share what they care about, and this year was a hard year. A lot of challenges for the global community, and I think what you see on Facebook is people coming together to meet those challenges and to feel less alone and to work towards solutions together," said Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg in an interview with the "TODAY" Show.
Facebook also released data on the most talked-about politicians of the year. The number one politician was President Barack Obama, followed by GOP presidential candidate and front-runner Donald Trump. Trump was the only Republican candidate in the top 10, while Democratic candidates Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders made the list from the other side.
The full list is below:
1. President Barack Obama
2. Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump
3. Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff
4. Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton
5. Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders
6. Former Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva
7. Turkish President Recep Taytip Erdogan
8. Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari
9. Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi
10. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu