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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

Tech's biggest upcoming battles in 2020

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

The most consequential stories for tech in 2020 pit the industry's corporate colossi against the U.S. government, foreign nations, and the human needs of their own customers.

Why it matters: Today's tech giants own and operate the informational hubs that increasingly shape our public and private lives. That's putting their products and policies under greater scrutiny than ever before.

Why migrants are fleeing their homes for the U.S.

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios Photo: Herika Martinez /Getty Images 

Natural disasters in Central America, economic devastation, gang wars, political oppression, and a new administration are all driving the sharp rise in U.S.-Mexico border crossings — a budding crisis for President Biden.

Why it matters: Migration flows are complex and quickly politicized. Biden's policies are likely sending signals that are encouraging the surge — but that's only a small reason it's happening.

Cities' pandemic struggle to balance homelessness and public safety

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Addressing homelessness has taken on new urgency in cities across the country over the past year, as officials grapple with a growing unhoused population and the need to preserve public safety during the coronavirus pandemic.

Why it matters: It’s led to tension when cities move in to clear encampments — often for health and safety reasons — causing some to rethink the role of law enforcement when interacting with people experiencing homelessness.