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Guns, Terrorism Top Social Media Threads Ahead of Obama Address

U.S. President Barack Obama walks down the colonnade from the Oval Office at The White House in Washington, Jan. 12, 2016.

Millions of Americans were discussing President Obama's upcoming State of the Union address on Tuesday on top social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter, debating anticipated speech topics such as gun control, terrorism and healthcare.

The televised speech before Congress at 9 p.m. EST (0200 GMT Wednesday), will be one of Obama's few remaining chances to capture and hold the attention of Americans before the election of a new president in November.

Following is a breakdown of some of the top trending threads by platform:


In the week leading up to the speech, 15 million people on Facebook discussed the speech - liking, posting, sharing and commenting on related content 54 million times.

According to Facebook, the top five related topics were:

1. Guns
2. Islam and Muslims
3. Islamic State
4. Crime and criminal justice
5. Terrorism

Google Trends

On Google, the top searched policy issues in the week leading up to the speech were:

1. Taxes
2. Education
3. Healthcare
4. Immigration
5. Gun Control


The State of the Union speech has generated progressively more tweets each year, a Twitter Inc spokesperson said.

Between 11:30 p.m. EST Monday (0430 GMT Tuesday) and 11:30 a.m. Tuesday (1630 GMT), about 25,000 tweets had been sent with the popular hashtag #SOTU.

Other big trending hashtags included:

#POTUS, #Obama, #StateOfTheUnion, #SOTU16 and #EmptySeat, referring to the seat first lady Michelle Obama will keep vacant in her viewing box in memory of gun violence victims.


Snapchat, the mobile app increasingly favored by users under the age of 25, plans a State of the Union Live Story featuring posts on the speech. That follows Monday's announcement that the White House had made its debut on Snapchat under the handle TheWhiteHouse in a bid to generate more engagement from millennials.

The Live Story that ran during the first Republican debate was viewed by nearly twice as many 18- to 24-year-olds on Snapchat than it was on television.

Snapchat did not have figures on what discussion topics were trending.