1. US Presidential Election Countdown
Even a year before US voters go to the polls, the race for the 2016 Presidential Election was a huge point of global conversation in 2015. From campaign announcements to debate performances, the candidates made headlines throughout the year. People turned to Facebook to talk about the issues, discover news and information, and engage with the politicians vying for the presidency.
2. November 13 Attacks in Paris
On the night of November 13, terrorists coordinated a series of attacks in Paris that shook the nation and the world. It was the deadliest attack in France since World War II. People in Paris used Facebook to let their friends know they were safe, and millions of people around the world made posts or changed their profile photos to stand with France.
3. Syrian Civil War & Refugee Crisis
The Syrian conflict has been ongoing since 2011, with the magnitude only growing. The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees estimates there are more than 4.1 million registered Syrian refugees. The majority have migrated to neighbouring countries and more than 500,000 have applied for asylum in Europe. People on Facebook have used groups, events and Pages to organize donation drives and offer support for refugees in their own communities.
4. Nepal Earthquakes
On April 25, 2015, a magnitude-7.8 earthquake struck Nepal, killing more than 8,800 people and displacing millions of others. Hundreds of aftershocks and a second massive earthquake on May 12 caused even greater devastation. People around the world responded quickly to provide aid and show their support for Nepal. More than 770,000 people on Facebook donated more than $15.5 million to International Medical Corps’ relief efforts on the ground.
5. Greek Debt Crisis
The world’s eyes were on Greece this year after Alexis Tsipras was elected prime minister on an anti-austerity platform. In June, a majority of Greeks voted against a renegotiated bailout agreement, raising questions about whether Greece would remain in the eurozone or “Grexit.” In July, Greece accepted a new bailout package to avoid bankruptcy. Government leaders and citizens used Facebook to share their points of view.
6. Marriage Equality
Advocates of marriage equality around the world celebrated landmark victories in 2015. In May, Ireland became the first country in the world to legalize samesex marriage through a popular vote. In June, the US Supreme Court ruled that all states must allow same-sex marriages. Other changes went into effect on a more local scale in countries including Mexico and Japan. On Facebook, more than 26 million people changed their profile photos using a rainbow filter to show their support for the LGBTQ community.
7. Fight Against ISIS
As the fight against ISIS continued in 2015, people on Facebook turned to friends and news organizations to help them understand what was going on. Across the world, people condemned the actions of the terrorist organization, shared news and information on the latest developments, and mourned the victims of terror.
8. Charlie Hebdo Attack
On January 7, 2015, two gunmen killed 12 people and injured 11 others at the offices of the satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo in Paris. The attack and four related incidents of terrorism in three days brought together millions of people for unity rallies in Paris and across France. Around the world, people used the phrase, “Je suis Charlie” — “I am Charlie” — to show their solidarity with the victims and support free speech.
9. Baltimore Protests
The death of 25-year-old Freddie Gray after injuries sustained in police custody in April spurred two weeks protests in downtown Baltimore. The incident reigni he ongoing debate about policing and became anot point of focus for the Black Lives Matter movement.
10. Charleston Shooting & Flag Debate
On June 17, 2015, a gunman killed nine people at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina, allegedly motivated by white supremacy beliefs. When photos of the suspect posing with the Confederate Flag were discovered, it sparked debate about the continued display of the flag at South Carolina State House and other establishments around the US. The conversation led South Carolina representatives to vote to remove the flag, and other state and local officials took action to eliminate Confederate symbols from license plates, school mascots and more.