Australia’s most shared stories and why they resonate

'Teaming' is when people share stories to make a statement about what they believe in. You’re either for or against a topic. There is no in-between. Taking a stand on social tells your network something about who you are, says Andrew Hunter.

What do you get when cross Pauline Hanson and anti-vaxers? Social napalm, that’s what. Both these hot topics combined for Sky News’ rare foray into our most-shared story list for July.

Sky’s ‘Hanson says vaccines may cause autism’ was built around a quote borrowed from the Daily Mail (who would do something like that?). andrew_hunter_360

“I have many people who have brought (vaccination) to my attention, that’s why their kids are autistic,’ Hanson told the Daily Mail, according to Sky News.

At Share Wars, we classify this type of article as a ‘Teaming’ story. Teaming is when people share stories to make a statement about what they believe in. You’re either for or against Hanson, and vaccination. There is no in-between. Taking a stand on these topics tells your network something about who you are.

The most-shared story for July also serves this Teaming purpose, although less controversially.that-s-thing-everyone-drew-in-school-what-is-it-body-image-vice magazine

There’s nothing to hate about the stylised ‘S’ shape that apparently many Gen Ys doodled in their adolescence. But the Vice article pondering the origin and meaning of this mysterious ‘S’ still plays to a team. As a Gen-Xer who used to doodle chequerboards inspired by the ska music movement, I can relate to Vice’s story, but I am not part of the team. Until looking over our data, I had never even noticed this S.


Vice’s reporter follows various lines of inquiry, including that the stylised letter was a metal band’s logo or an early version of the S from Stüssy. By the end of the story, the graphic’s provenance remains unclear – but that is immaterial. Vice’s lavish dose of nostalgia was devoured and distributed widely on Facebook by Gen ‘S’.

Teaming dominates the rest of the Top 10 as you can see from the table below. In the month of the Federal election, it was a state leader in Mike Baird who cut into the Top 10 on the back of his greyhound ban.

From the time we first started collecting sharing data in 2011, we’ve seen the concept of animals (and children) as victims as a powerful driver of sharing.mike baird twitter greyhound bones ban

Greyhound racing is a divisive topic that leaves few people on the fence. It’s perfect Facebook fodder.

Sheer weight of data compels me to mention Pokémon Go which is some kind of lethal video game that leads young people to desecrate sacred places. The topic proved fertile territory for Pedestrian Daily in July.

The Daily Mail also registered two stories on the leaderboard. They struck sharing gold with their version of the Sonia Kruger Muslim immigration controversy.sonia kruger today show muslim comment

By the way, have we had Sonia’s take on Pokémon Go? Is she a fan?

Top 10 most-shared Australian stories on Facebook, July 2016 *

*This list was assembled using data from the Likeable Engine software which tracked more than 120,000 Australian stories from news sites in July, 2016. The most-shared metric includes Likes, Reactions, Comments and Shares.

Andrew Hunter is a co-founder of Share Wars. The Share Wars book All Your Friends Like This – How Social Networks Took Over News is out now, published by Harper Collins. He is also market lead for Microsoft’s MSN Australia


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