Americans are more interested in the Depp vs. Heard trial than in war and abortion

Americans are grappling with rising inflation, the ongoing pandemic, and the likely fall of Roe v. Wade – but they are interested in one topic above all else.

According to data from NewsWhip, the blockbuster defamation trial between Johnny Depp and Amber Heard currently generates more engagement on social media than any other topic.

The data firm claims the riveting courtroom drama garnered an average of 508 social media interactions — ie. Likes, comments and shares – for each published article in the last month.

According to data from NewsWhip, the blockbuster defamation trial between Johnny Depp and Amber Heard currently generates more engagement on social media than any other topic.
According to data from NewsWhip, the blockbuster defamation trial between Johnny Depp and Amber Heard currently generates more engagement on social media than any other topic.
AP

That’s almost five times the engagement of articles about abortion (141 social media interactions) and more than 10 times the engagement of articles about COVID-19 (44 social media interactions).

“It’s undoubtedly a record for us,” Rachel Stockman, president of the Law & Crime Network, told Axios on Wednesday about the trial.

Data from NewsWhip shows that social media interactions about the study eclipsed all other topics over the past month.
Data from NewsWhip shows that social media interactions about the study eclipsed all other topics over the past month.
The riveting courtroom drama has averaged 508 social media interactions — ie.  Likes, comments and shares - for each published article in the last month.
Trial of the decade: The riveting courtroom drama has averaged 508 social media interactions — ie. Likes, comments and shares – for each published article in the last month.
POOL/AFP via Getty Images

Meanwhile, people across the country say they’re concerned about the rising cost of goods and services, but articles about inflation only get an average of 70 likes, comments, and shares.

The war in Ukraine doesn’t captivate Americans much anymore, with articles about the conflict attracting just 91 social media interactions on average.

Even President Joe Biden’s polarization doesn’t garner nearly the same level of interest as Depp and Heard. Published stories about the Supreme Commander receive an average of 170 interactions on social media.

Data shows that in the past month there were four times as many Google searches for Amber Heard's name as for abortion or the Supreme Court.
Data shows that in the past month there were four times as many Google searches for Amber Heard’s name as for abortion or the Supreme Court.
AP

And while hundreds of thousands of people took part in pro-choice rallies across the country after a Supreme Court draft was leaked that ruled Roe v. Wade, data shows millions of Americans are more interested in Amber Heard — online at least.

In the past month, there have been four times as many Google searches for Heard’s name as for abortion or the Supreme Court, Axios reported.

The only other public figure to have garnered anywhere near the same level of social media interest as Heard over the past month is her former flame, Elon Musk.

Google searches for the billionaire have soared in recent weeks following his Twitter buyout, but Heard’s name is still searched twice as often as Musk’s, NewsWhip reports.

The only other socialite to garner nearly the same level of interest as Amber Heard over the past month is her former flame, Elon Musk.
The only other socialite to garner nearly the same level of interest as Amber Heard over the past month is her former flame, Elon Musk.
dpa/Picture Alliance via Getty I

Many people consume the Depp v. Heard on social media, with millions of takes and highlights posted to TikTok. Videos with the hashtag #JusticeForJohnny have been viewed a whopping 8.3 billion times on this site.

Others are also tuning in to YouTube, as Law&Crime’s Rachel Stockman tells Axios: “Consumption has changed with trials like this. We’re seeing 10-15x the viewership for this study than we normally would across all platforms, but especially YouTube.”

“Became [also] seeing an ever-growing audience on Twitch,” she added.

It’s possible that Americans are using the juicy court cases between Depp and Heard as a distraction from an onslaught of bad news.

Stories of inflation, the war in Ukraine and the likely curtailment of abortion rights come as the country continues to suffer from COVID fatigue after more than two years of the pandemic.

People across the country were glued to their screens when Heard took the stand on Tuesday to be cross-examined by Depp's attorney.
People across the country were glued to their screens when Heard took the stand on Tuesday to be cross-examined by Depp’s attorney.
REUTERS

The defamation trial between Depp and Heard resumed Monday in Virginia after a week-long hiatus.

People across the country were glued to their screens as Heard took the stand to be cross-examined by Depp’s attorney.

Depp is suing Heard for defamation over a 2018 Washington Post op-ed the Aquaman star wrote in which she said she was a victim of sexual assault. She didn’t specifically name Depp in the article, but it was written after Heard sought a restraining order against her ex-husband in 2016 over allegations of abuse.

Depp is seeking $50 million in damages. Heard has filed a $100 million counterclaim.

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