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Most Shared Stories on Facebook in 2011

December 2, 2011

Human interest stories dominated our attention in 2011, particularly those about babies, animals, and natural disasters, according to Facebook's list of the top 40 most shared articles in 2011.

The most popular links shared on Facebook during the first 11 months of 2011 range from "cute to thought provoking," Facebook wrote, and they "represent the type of news people have been sharing and discovering with friends in 2011."

The most popular link for readers was a series of satellite photographs published by the New York Times in the wake of the Japanese earthquake and tsunami in March. The newspaper produced an interactive "slider to compare satellite images", taken by GeoEye/EyeQ before and after the disaster. The story has been shared by more than 600,000 times on Facebook.

The second most popular link was a CNN feature titled "What teachers really want to tell parents", which discusses why families should trust their school's opinions on their children. That link has been shared nearly 587,000 times.

Among the year's top stories, parenting and family issues were the most popular overall, accounting for 12 of the 40 stories (three of which were viral videos).

Three of the most popular stories related to Steve Jobs, the Apple founder who died in October after a long battle with cancer; among stories about Jobs, the eulogy delivered by his sister and published in the New York Times was most shared.

Another editorial imploring parents not to "dress your girls like tramps" was also hugely popular, while another three articles focused on the "new zodiac sign" controversy.

All 40 of the stories were published by just six "online" news outlets. Yahoo had the most with 12 stories, followed by CNN with 10, The New York Times and The Huffington Post with 7 each, and The Washington Post with 3 articles. Yahoo and CNN both had four postings in the top 10.

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