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Facebook’s 40 Most Shared Articles of 2011: Japan Earthquake & Tsunami Tops List

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Facebook’s Most Shared Articles on Facebook 2011 post lists which articles were shared most amongst users in the U.S. in 2011. Surprisingly, the top 40 articles came from just six online news sources, largely led by Yahoo! and CNN.

The most shared article of the year wasn’t really an article at all, but a series of sliding before-and-after satellite pictures of the devastation caused by the Japanese earthquake and tsunami, posted by CNN.com. Ten of the top 40 most shared articles were from CNN, second only to Yahoo, with 12.

The Complete List of Facebook’s Most Shared Articles of 2011

  1. Satellite Photos of Japan, Before and After the Quake and Tsunami (New York Times) 
  2. What teachers really want to tell parents (CNN) 
  3. No, your zodiac sign hasn't changed (CNN) 
  4. Parents, don't dress your girls like tramps (CNN) 
  5. (video) - Father Daughter Dance Medley (Yahoo) 
  6. At funeral, dog mourns the death of Navy SEAL killed in Afghanistan (Yahoo) 
  7. You'll freak when you see the new Facebook (CNN) 
  8. Dog in Japan stays by the side of ailing friend in the rubble (Yahoo) 
  9. Giant crocodile captured alive in Philippines (Yahoo) 
  10. New Zodiac Sign Dates: Ophiuchus The 13th Sign? (The Huffington Post) 
  11. Parents keep child’s gender under wraps (Yahoo) 
  12. How to Talk to Little Girls (The Huffington Post) 
  13. Stop Coddling the Super-Rich (New York Times) 
  14. Why Chinese Mothers Are Superior (Wall Street Journal)
  15. (video) - Twin Baby Boys Have A Conversation! (Yahoo) 
  16. Man robs bank to get medical care in jail (Yahoo) 
  17. Why You're Not Married (The Huffington Post) 
  18. A Sister’s Eulogy for Steve Jobs (New York Times) 
  19. Ryan Dunn Dead: 'Jackass' Star Dies In Car Crash (The Huffington Post) 
  20. Scientists warn California could be struck by winter ‘superstorm’ (Yahoo) 
  21. Notes From a Dragon Mom (New York Times) 
  22. A Message to Women From a Man: You Are Not "Crazy" (The Huffington Post) 
  23. Obama’s and Bush’s effects on the deficit in one graph (Washington Post) 
  24. Penn State, my final loss of faith (Washington Post) 
  25. Golden-Voiced Homeless Man Captivates Internet (Yahoo) 
  26. The most typical face on the planet (Yahoo) 
  27. Widespread destruction from Japan earthquake, tsunamis (CNN) 
  28. Permissive parents: Curb your brats (CNN) 
  29. A father's day wish: Dads, wake the hell up! (CNN) 
  30. (video) - Laughing Baby Loves Ripping Paper! (Yahoo) 
  31. Epic Cover Letter: How To Get Hired For Your Dream Job (PICTURE) (The Huffington Post) 
  32. New Zodiac sign dates: Don't switch horoscopes yet (Washington Post) 
  33. Things Babies Born in 2011 Will Never Know (Yahoo: Money Talk News) 
  34. The Psychology of Revenge: Why We Should Stop Celebrating Osama Bin Laden's Death (The Huffington Post) 
  35. (photo gallery) - ‘Where Children Sleep’ (New York Times) 
  36. Quake moved Japan coast 8 feet, shifted Earth's axis (CNN) 
  37. Steve Jobs, Apple founder, dies (CNN) 
  38. China's latest craze: dyeing pets to look like other wild animals (CNN) 
  39. Grant Hill’s Response to Jalen Rose (New York Times) 
  40. Steve Jobs’s Patents (New York Times)

Social News

Facebook has been working on expanding sharing and, with the implementation of Open Graph and their “new class” of apps, making Facebook the place users go to curate everything in their lives: what they are cooking, watching, listening to, or is this case, reading.

Yahoo News and The Washington Post were among the first five publications involved in Open Graph social news apps in beta, as announced at the f8 developer conference. The Huffington Post and Wall Street Journal have since joined their ranks, while CNN.com and NYTimes.com have opted out... for now.

In September, former NYTimes.com developer Michael Donohoe explained why, at least in part, the New York Times decided to forgo frictionless sharing via a social reader app. From his blog:

The Washington Post has an Editor’s Note. Its says many things including: “All you have to do is read, just as you normally do. No “recommending,” “liking” or “sharing” — just read and we’ll do the rest of the work. The app gets better the more friends you have using it.”

Thats a very nice spin on it.

Earlier this year when I was still at the Times we talked to Facebook about a news app. Facebook had a whole set of new features in the pipeline (presumably just launched) and this passive reading action was one of them and they were looking for us to use it. It came up in conference calls and on-site meetings. I believe Facebook is very eager to catch-up or even displace Twitter as a go-to place for news, and this is how they think they can do that.

To their credit the newsroom shelved the idea. The consensus was that this was intrusive and potentially an invasion of privacy. I think after that was repeatedly communicated that Facebook lost interest in doing anything at all.

Are you using social reader apps on Facebook to share news articles, or to keep up with the interests of friends? Let us know about your experience in the comments!


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