Story at a glance

  • The #BlackLivesMatter has been used a record 47.8 million times following national protests.
  • Data suggests the largest daily use was seen on May 28, with 8.8 million unique mentions.

As protesters decry the death of George Floyd, an unarmed black man who died when a Minneapolis police officer kneeled on his neck, and storm the streets with hundreds of demonstrations, the revitalized movement for police accountability has also had a tangible presence online.

New data from the Pew Research Center shows the #BlackLivesMatter hashtag is gaining more digital traction than ever before, having been used 3.7 million times per day between the dates of May 26 to June 7, resulting in a total of 47.8 million uniquel appearances on Twitter.

Prior to Floyd’s death on May 25, the last noticeable uptick in #BlackLivesMatter posts was on July 7, 2016, when protests occurred after the deaths of Philando Castile and Alton Sterling. The two men were both shot to death by police, in Minnesota and Louisiana respectively. During these protests, five Dallas police officers were killed by a gunman. 


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During July 2016, almost four years ago, #BlackLivesMatter was mentioned roughly 1.4 million times, averaging about 500,000 tweets daily, Pew reports.

Now, in May 2020, the movement has been rekindled as multiple black Americans, including George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Ahmaud Arbery, have been killed by police officers or white men.

The strongest peak of tweets containing #BlackLivesMatter was seen on May 28, where Pew researchers say nearly 8.8 million tweets that mention the Black Lives Matter movement. This is a startling jump from the 215,000 tweets with #BlackLivesMatter movement that was seen on the day after Floyd’s death. 

In the days since, the number of Tweets mentioning #BlackLivesMatter have consistently remained above 2 million per day through Sunday June 7. The Pew Center notes that this is the highest volume of sustained mentions of #BlackLivesMatter.  

The Pew Research Center analyzed individual uses of #BlackLivesMatter by using automated coding software owned by the company Brandwatch. Historical data of the hashtag’s usage has been gathered since 2013. 


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BOOKS ON RACE AND DISCRIMINATION BECOME BESTSELLERS IN WAKE OF GEORGE FLOYD KILLING

Published on Jun 11, 2020