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The five most popular tweets of all time

The Week logo The Week 07/01/2019 Rebecca Gillie
Ellen DeGeneres, Bradley Cooper posing for a photo © Provided by Dennis Publishing Limited

A tweet from a Japanese billionaire has become the most-retweeted of all time.

Yusaku Maezawa, a one-time punk musician and the founder of online clothing retailer Zozo Inc, took to the social media platform on Saturday to announce that he would split a 100 million yen (£722,000) prize among 100 randomly selected users who retweeted the post to celebrate the brand’s bumper sales over the festive period.


The prize draw caught fire, with 5.3 million retweets as of today, when Maezawa is due to pick the lucky winners, CNBC reports.

The extraordinary response to the tweet pushes the previous record-holder into second place.

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Carter Wilkerson’s love of chicken nuggets made him an unlikely viral sensation in April 2017, when he reached out to US fast food chain Wendy’s to ask for a year’s supply of free chicken.

The internet took Wilkerson to its heart, sharing his plea 3.6 million times. Although he was far off the 18 million target, Wendy’s relented and rewarded his efforts with a free year of nuggets.

Third place goes to Ellen DeGeneres’ now-legendary 2014 Oscars selfie. The star-studded photo, which crams celebrities including Meryl Streep, Jennifer Lawrence, Bradley Cooper, Julia Roberts and Brad Pitt into one frame, has 3.3 million retweets.



A touching message from One Direction’s Louis Tomlinson to bandmate Harry Styles in 2011 occupies the fourth spot, partly thanks to a popular fan theory that the pair were more than just friends:


Elrubius may be an unfamiliar name to most English speakers, but the Spanish game streamer’s YouTube account is one of the most-watched in the world.

In 2016, he posted a video announcing a prize giveaway if enough fans retweeted a single word - limonada, Spanish for lemonade. Almost 1.8 million rallied to the call.


Just missing out on the top five is former US president Barack Obama’s anti-racism message has been retweeted more than 1.6 million times - but retweets are only one metric to measure a tweet’s popularity.

If measured by likes instead, this tweet would be an easy winner, having racked up more than 4.5 million likes - two million more than runner-up Ariana Grande, whose tweet in the aftermath of the bombing of her concert at the Manchester Arena was liked 2.5 million times

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