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Trending This Week: News Stories on Social Media

September means the imminent start of Autumn, the rush to market with new holiday must-haves, and the tech world preparing for it’s biggest quarter of the year. The news cycle this week was dominated by conversations around the Net Neutrality issue, a celebrity photo leak, and New York Fashion work.

Let’s look at how these news stories played out on social media.

Neutrality Now

Net Neutrality is a very complicated issue. With internet and cable providers on one side of the debate (hoping the FCC will rule in favor of a tiered service model) and many companies and individuals protesting any potential changes to the state of the internet today, it's often hard to keep track of who is saying what. Or what it all means. (For a quick and highly humorous explanation, check out John Oliver's Net Neutrality segment on "Last Week Tonight")

Data - of any kind - is an extremely hot commodity in the business world as well as for the general public. Content-based pricing would undoubtedly trickle down and affect businesses and individuals, beyond benefitting cable providers and internet companies. A content-based pricing model and slowed down data speeds could affect those who need it the most - the underserved, repressed masses in regions with existing internet and access issues. Another key issue is a matter of trust. If there is a data fast lane, how can internet consumers (that is, anyone) fully feel comfortable that they are accessing all the data they could be and should be?

While it all hangs in the balance prior to the FCC's decision, we looked at the conversation online around the Net Neutrality debate for more insights. 

The 800,000 public comments on the FCC’s net neutrality plan has spurred further analysis as the media takes a deep dive into what it all means. “Comments” was the most mentioned topic associated with Net Neutrality in Twitter conversations over the last week, with over 1,700 mentions.

YourAnonNews is an influencer on social media when it comes to Net Neutrality, and is the second most mentioned topic in the conversation with 1,300 mentions.

Net Neutrality Topics_BW.png

The top hashtag, by impressions, is #internetslowdown. As The Verge so eloquently describes it, “As the FCC prepares to close public comments on its net neutrality proposal, major internet companies are organizing a protest to raise awareness. Reddit, Etsy, Foursquare, Kickstarter, Mozilla, Namecheap, Vimeo, and others will observe next Wednesday, September 10th as a day of action, during which they'll showcase net neutrality issues on their sites and drive visitors to contact the FCC, Congress, and the White House.”

Net Neutrality Hashtags_BW.png


While concerned citizens and internet companies protest, the conversation online is anything but neutral when looking at gender demographics. Men lead the conversation on Twitter with 72% of the conversation, while women only account for 28%.


Net Neutrality Demo_BW.png


Cloudiness over Apple

Early on this week ahead of Apple’s imminent product news coming out this month, the conversation was clouded by a mass leak of celebrity photos (the NSFW kind of images). Apple released a statement after investigating to say it was a highly targeted hacking specifically of those celebrities’ iCloud accounts. That didn’t stop the conversation online before and after discussing the “iCloud security breach.”

There were over 17,000 mentions on Twitter in just the first three days since the first images were leaked. Over 7,600 mentions of Apple were unsurprisingly part of the conversation.

There were three times as many negative mentions as positive mentions related to the incident, as people took to social media to discuss, dissect, and decipher what this means for the average person’s iCloud security.

We looked at data of iCloud mentions paired with mentions of security breach, privacy, leak, and other similar terms. I looked at only Twitter data, further honing in the conversation.

Shockingly, the gender demographics split shows that men on Twitter are talking about the iCloud security breach much more than women - 76% male vs 24% female.

  • Top hashtags skew toward the celebrities that were hacked (chart below)

    • #leakforjlaw (third most used hashtag in this conversation by impressions) is a rapidly trending hashtag (with a Twit pic of a man posing “provocatively” in solidarity with Jennifer Lawrence who was one of the celebrities whose photos were leaked)  number of impressions of this hashtag: 3,008,840

    • #kirstendunst and #celebrity also make the top 10



  • Dropbox is also in the mix, getting mentioned (over 100 times) alongside iCloud with regards to potential enterprise security threats

  • Apple is clearly in the eye of the storm, with the most mentions of any other topic in this discussion with over 3,600 mentions

  • Media and tech personalities are advising the public on how to protect themselves from a breach with about 150 mentions of “secure your personal cloud”


Removing all mentions categorized as neutral, the conversation is leaning to the negative with people expressing outrage over the privacy issues and implications of this breach

  • Some of the negative words associated with these mentions include “violation” “disgusting violation” “criminality” “failure” “glitch” and “disappointment"



As for the timing of when the mentions started, below is a look at the hourly breakdown. Mentions started appearing about the celebrity leaked photos at around 9pm ET on August 31. Negative mentions started just about an hour later, at around 10pm ET.  Times in the below graphs are GMT.






Trendsetting: New York Fashion Week

With Fashion Week kicking off this week, we’re seeing some brands standing out in online conversations. We tracked the most used hashtag, #NYFW, looking at how the internet is reacting to the latest trends and collections from designers this season.

In just the last week, the hashtag has been used over 44,000 times.

Fashion Week_BW.png

Top brands in the most mentioned topics:

  • BCBGMaxAzria

  • Athleta

  • Coach

Top fashion media:

  • Elle Magazine

  • British Vogue

  • Fashionista

Sure, Fashion Week and the fashion industry as a whole is heavily focused on women’s fashion. But with so many male designers in the mix, we would expect to see many more men strutting the online conversation runway. Brandwatch Analytics shows that the demographics of the online conversation around #NYFW are heavily dominated by women: 71% (female) to 29% (male).

FW demoagraphics_BW.png

Stay tuned for next week's post to see how major news stories are playing out on social media. As the world (and the internet) waits not-so-patiently for the verdict regarding Net Neutrality, we'll be monitoring for how the world reacts. Online, that is. 

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