A royal birth, marriage equality and tragic deaths: Facebook’s year in review 2013 (video)

10 Dec 2013

For more than 1bn users, Facebook is a place to follow, share and discuss major events happening in the world and in our personal lives. Facebook’s 2013 retrospective illustrates what engaged us this year, collectively and individually.

Facebook has revealed that the most common life events shared on Facebook worldwide in 2013 were relationship status updates to either being in a relationship, getting engaged or getting married. It was a landmark year for many same-sex couples, too, and this was expressed on Facebook through profile pictures bearing the mark of support for marriage equality.

A retrospective video captures this support for same-sex marriage rights beautifully, along with other topical stories from the year, such as the Boston Marathon bombing, Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines, and the deaths of many public figures and celebrities.


There are also pop culture references to Game of Thrones and Breaking Bad, popular memes like Grumpy Cat, catbeards, Harlem Shake videos and Hadoukening, plus shout-outs to popular pages from Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield and I Fucking Love Science. Not to mention selfies, spoilers, and baby pictures – these are the things that made Facebook in 2013.

Looking at the most talked-about topics, ‘election’ is a common one, appearing in many languages and listed as the second-most mentioned term on Facebook worldwide in 2013, behind Pope Francis.

Facebook most talked about topics 2013

The most talked-about topics on Facebook worldwide in 2013

Facebook has broken down the top trending topics from 16 different countries on its Facebook Stories site, showing that the royal baby, Prince George, was a global public figure even before his birth. All manner of sports teams and events crop up throughout, though; in France, Grand Theft Auto V ranked higher than the Tour de France – but neither was popular enough to take the top spot from Paris Saint-Germain football club.

In Germany, football was the dominant source of conversation on Facebook, while ‘twerk’, ‘Miley Cyrus’ and ‘what does the fox say’ all make an appearance in Poland’s top 10.

Facebook most talked about topics UK 2013

The most talked-about topics on Facebook in the UK in 2013

Your Facebook year in review

Facebook can also generate a personal year in review for each of its users to look back on their own biggest moments of 2013. This will produce a timeline of life events and popular posts shared throughout the year, and users can add life events they feel are missing and then share the timeline with their Facebook friends.

This personalised look back also includes the option to see highlights and popular posts by friends. The algorithm seems to select any births, marriages, deaths plus significant events like passing exams, graduating, buying a home, winning awards or starting a new job – a nice way to catch up on all that can happen in a year.

Facebook top life events 2013

The life events most commonly shared on Facebook in 2013

Elaine Burke is the host of For Tech’s Sake, a co-production from Silicon Republic and The HeadStuff Podcast Network. She was previously the editor of Silicon Republic.