Social Media

‘Chewbacca Mom’ was the most popular Facebook Live video this year by a mile

Kurt Wagner
An image of "Chewbacca Mom" from facebook video.
Source: Candace Payne | Facebook

Chewbacca Mom won Facebook in 2016 — and it wasn't even close.

The viral video of Candace Payne, a previously unknown mother of two, donning a Chewbacca Mask she bought at Kohl's and laughing hysterically while wearing it in her car was the most-watched Facebook Live video of 2016. It has 162 million views as of Thursday.

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It nearly doubled the view count for the next closest live video, this clip of musician Ted Yoder playing some bizarre stringed instrument called a hammered dulcimer. He's really good!

Winning Facebook comes with a lot of upside, it turns out. Payne has collected hundreds of thousands of dollars in free perks since her video went viral, including free tuition for her whole family at a small Christian college in Florida. She also met "The Late Late Show" host James Corden, visited Facebook's headquarters and got her own action figure.

The irony, of course, is that while this was a Facebook Live video, the vast majority of views came after the four-minute video had actually ended. Still, Facebook has been pushing Facebook Live all year long, so it's not a surprise they would break out a list of popular live videos from 2016. (It did not unveil a list of non-live videos.)

Oh, and it wasn't a bad promo for Disney's "Star Wars," either, which releases its latest blockbuster next week. Or Kohl's, which immediately sold out of Chewbacca masks online after the video went viral.

A few other tidbits from Facebook's year in review:

  • The U.S. presidential election was the most talked about event on Facebook this year. Shocker.

  • Pokémon Go was the third most talked about topic on Facebook this year, ahead of Black Lives Matter, Brexit, the Olympics and the Super Bowl.

By Kurt Wagner,

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