Data: NewsWhip; Chart: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

Ruth Bader Ginsburg-related social media interactions dwarfed all other topics this week — a departure from a run of weeks where, other than the coronavirus, violence in cities was the dominant storyline.

The big picture: In just two days, there were 41 million interactions (likes, comments or shares) on stories about the late Supreme Court justice, according to exclusive NewsWhip data.

  • That compares with a recent average of 62 million coronavirus interactions per week — and more than five times the number of weekly social media interactions over violence and rioting.

Why it matters: Until now, coverage of violence in cities (17.1m per week) has been getting way more traction and eyeballs on social media than other stories dominating the news — including Trump revelations from Bob Woodward's new book and devastation from the wildfires in the West.

Driving the news: Of those topics, the most viral stories in the past two months got very little national attention on cable news and mainstream media.

  • They were: "Chicago looters attacked Ronald McDonald House with sick children inside, charity says" (Washington Times, 2.02m interactions); and "BREAKING: Over 100 Police Agencies Pull Out of Agreements To Guard DNC Convention" (Daily Wire, 1.87m).
  • Peak interest around the Trump revelations in Woodward's book reached 14.3 million interactions the week of Sept. 7. Attention for the wildfires hit 14.4 million interactions that same week.
  • On stories about antifa, looting and rioting, there have been five weeks with more than 15 million interactions in the last two months.

Between the lines: While RBG's legacy and the political fight to replace her is of keen interest to Americans on both sides of the aisle, conservatives may be better positioned to lean into it on social media.

  • The movement's potency on Facebook is one of the biggest weapons in the GOP's arsenal heading into the election.

But, but, but: The coronavirus is still the topic consistently driving the most social media buzz.

  • It has held the top spot for months, with short-term exceptions in weeks following George Floyd's killing and Jacob Blake's shooting.

Go deeper

NY Post story goes massive on social media despite crackdowns

Data: NewsWhip; Chart: Naema Ahmed/Axios

Facebook and Twitter's frantic attempts to stop the spread of the New York Post's Hunter Biden story didn't prevent the article from becoming the top story about the election on those platforms last week, according to data from NewsWhip.

Why it matters: The data shows that even swift, aggressive content suppression may not be swift or aggressive enough to keep down a story with as much White House backing and partisan fuel as this one.

Updated 1 min ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Politics: Axios-Ipsos poll: Federal response has only gotten worse — The swing states where the pandemic is raging.
  2. Health: The coronavirus is starting to crush some hospitals — 13 states set single-day case records last week.
  3. Business: Where stimulus is needed most.
  4. Education: The dangerous instability of school re-openings.
  5. States: Nearly two dozen Minnesota COVID cases traced to 3 Trump campaign events.
  6. World: Unrest in Italy as restrictions grow across Europe.
  7. Media: Fox News president and several hosts advised to quarantine.

Pre-bunking rises ahead of the 2020 election

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

Tech platforms are no longer satisfied with debunking falsehoods — now they're starting to invest in efforts that preemptively show users accurate information to help them counter falsehoods later on.

Why it matters: Experts argue that pre-bunking can be a more effective strategy for combative misinformation than fact-checking. It's also a less polarizing way to address misinformation than trying to apply judgements to posts after they've been shared.