Data: NewsWhip; Chart: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

No other social change movement in the Trump era has come close to the intensity of social media attention forged in the wake of the George Floyd killing, according to data provided exclusively by NewsWhip.

Why it matters: The power of this movement can be seen in the concrete changes made as local, state and federal government grapple with how policing across the country can be reformed.

By the numbers: In the last month — counting the week even before the movement began with Floyd's killing — there were 1.04 billion social media interactions (likes, comments, shares) on stories related to police conduct, police reform, racial inequality, Black Lives Matter and the cases of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and Ahmaud Arbery.

  • That's far more than the next biggest social change movement over a 28-day period during the Trump era: the fight for gun control following the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla. in February 2018. That event drew 153 million interactions.
  • The third biggest was the backlash to Trump administration immigration policies in June and July 2018, including ICE practices and family separation (121 million interactions).
  • The #MeToo movement generated momentum over a longer time period and didn't spike as sharply over a four-week period, topping out at 44 million interactions. (Note: This analysis uses #MeToo in September 2018 because the issue picked up more momentum than in October 2017.)

According to Google Trends, searches related to Black Lives Matter during the week of May 31 dwarfed the peak for all of these topics.

  • There were 64% more searches than the second-most searched issue — abortion and reproductive rights in May of last year after conservative Southern states passed restrictive laws.

The big picture: This story has sustained momentum because it branched in so many directions — from the respective cases of Floyd, Taylor and Arbery to the protests against police brutality, Trump's response to those protests, systemic racism in America and policy dialogue about how to reform policing.

Yes, but: Social change movements often suffer from fleeting interest as other news events push them out of the limelight.

  • While interest in this racial justice movement has fallen considerably from a peak of 128 million interactions on June 1, it is still intense: it continues to generate more interactions on a daily basis than the coronavirus, and its engagement at this juncture is still well beyond that of other movements.

The bottom line: For many social movements, there is a short period of passion, but that enthusiasm often fizzles and change doesn't get enacted. We've seen that happen with the Greta Thunberg-led climate protests, the Occupy ICE movement and the reaction to mass shootings.

Go deeper

2020 attention tracker: Biden succeeding in making it about Trump

Data: Newswhip; Graphic: Axios Visuals

Even after emerging from his Delaware basement, Joe Biden has consumed less and less of the national conversation while his polling lead over President Trump has swelled, according to data from NewsWhip provided exclusively to Axios.

Why it matters: Trump's punches aren't landing. Biden is avoiding heightened scrutiny while Trump absorbs the blowback for his responses to national crises.

Updated Jul 27, 2020 - Politics & Policy

The major police reforms enacted since George Floyd's death

Federal officers in Portland, Oregon on July 21. Photo: Nathan Howard/Getty Images

Nationwide Black Lives Matter protests sparked by George Floyd's killing have put new pressure on states and cities to scale back the force that officers can use on civilians.

Why it matters: Police reforms of this scale have not taken place since the inception of the Black Lives Matter movement in 2013, following George Zimmerman's acquittal for shooting Trayvon Martin, an unarmed Black teenager.

Updated 45 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 3:30 p.m. ET: 18,614,542 — Total deaths: 702,330 — Total recoveries — 11,181,018Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 3:30 p.m. ET: 4,793,950 — Total deaths: 157,416 — Total recoveries: 1,528,979 — Total tests: 58,239,438Map.
  3. 2020: Joe Biden will no longer travel to Milwaukee for Democratic convention.
  4. Public health: Florida surpasses 500,000 confirmed casesModerna skirts disclosures of vaccine costs.
  5. Sports: The return of high school sports hangs in the balance — UConn becomes first FBS team to cancel football season.
  6. Education: Chicago Public Schools to begin school year fully remote.