Facebook may have five times as many users, but Twitter now plays a vital role in how news spreads.
You can see the scale of Twitter's influence in a visualization showing tweets relating to the unrest in Ferguson, Missouri after Michael Brown was shot and killed by local police officer Darren Wilson. Twitter's data team created the following map based on mentions of the city and other related key words. Watch as Ferguson spreads from a local, to a national, and then an international news story in a matter of days.
As The Atlantic points out, the greatest amount of activity seems to have occurred following the arrests of journalists Wesley Lowery and Ryan Reilly on Wednesday. That spike in activity is also evident in this chart from Twitter user Patrick Ruffini:
Twitter has been central to the conflict in Ukraine. It's ability to influence events and perspectives -- for better or worse -- was also evident in the aftermath of the Sandy Hook shooting and the Boston Marathon bombing.
In the case of Ferguson, news and commentary was spread though the use of several hashtags, some of which have disseminated many of the conflict's most iconic images.
— Frank Matt (@fxmatt4) August 12, 2014