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You can literally watch the Laurel-Yanny debate spread around the world in 24 hours

You can literally watch the Laurel-Yanny debate spread around the world in 24 hours
[Gif: courtesy of Talkwalker]

Unless you have just emerged from a very long nap, you probably know that a salient acoustic debate set social media ablaze last night, as people argued furiously over whether a snippet of audio produced the word “Laurel” or “Yanny.”

Just how widespread was this raging disagreement? For guidance, I reached out to Talkwalker, an analytics tool that measures activity on social media. The company tells me it measured some 746,500 mentions related to the debate in the last 24 hours. It also provided a compelling animated map that shows how the social media activity spread around the world, apparently beginning in the Northeast of the United States before rapidly taking hold on every continent.

I have no real interest in the debate itself, but watching it sweep the world is fun. (The above GIF covers a 24-hour period.) For anyone who does care, Talkwalker says it measured slightly more volume around “Laurel,” with 53.9% of the mentions, compared to 46.1% for “Yanny.” Not that this will settle the debate. For that, we may need a miracle—or maybe just the next meme.

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