The defamation trial between the actor and former spouses Johnny Depp and Amber Heard quickly drew more attention online than some of the biggest and most pressing news stories in the country, including Leaked Supreme Court decision and Russia’s war in Ukraine.
Why it matters: Despite the politically pending Supreme Court decision on abortion in the United States, more eyeballs have been focused on the development of the Depp-Hurd trial.
Push News: According to exclusive data from NewsWhip, total social media interactions (likes, comments, shares) generated by news articles about the trial, which began on April 12, exceeded reports about abortion and the Supreme Court or inflation.
- On a per-article basis, the trial dwarfed all other major topics in the news (see image above).
- According to Google Trends data, Google searched for Amber Heard twice as much as Elon Musk last month. Searches for her name are almost 4 times more than searches for abortion or the Supreme Court.
background: The trial is based on Depp’s defamation lawsuit against Hurd after he wrote a Washington Post op-ed about domestic abuse that Depp said had irreparably damaged his career. Hurd also filed a countersuit.
enlarge: The entertainment venue is treating the event as their Super Bowl.
- “It’s a record-breaking one for us, without a doubt,” said Rachel Stockman, president of the Legal and Crime Network. The Law&Crime app’s average daily viewership is 50 times what it was before the trial. Law&Crime’s YouTube channel alone has about 1 million viewers watching the trial every hour.
- A simple Google search For “When Will the Amber and Johnny Trial Begin,” dozens of results were drawn from premium media on how and when to watch the trial, a traffic engagement trick that news outlets typically use for major events such as the Super Bowl.
Some of the world’s largest entertainment news sites According to SimilarWeb, the trial led to a significant increase in traffic.
- People, Us and the New York Post all saw traffic to their sites increase 9%, 16% and 22% year over year in April.
Be smart: The trial has gone viral on social media as courtroom cameras captured every moment in the public eye, then quickly became viral memes and clips online.
- Dozens of memes have gained massive traction online, such as viral memes Amber Heard’s crying face posted on TikTok, Snapchat and other social media, along with clips passed on by Johnny Depp graffiti His lawyer in court.
Big picture: Courtroom dramas, especially celebrity ones, have long been a staple of American media appetite, but the show is the first major trial to go viral in the TikTok era.
- “The consumption of trials like this has changed,” Stockman said, referring to how different the numbers were during the Derek Chauvin trial a year ago when Legal & Crime Network reported last June.
- “We’re seeing 10-15 times the viewership of this trial than we would normally do across platforms, but most particularly on YouTube. … We’re seeing more and more viewers on Twitch.”
Between the lines: Many of the most popular clips mock Heard, Join the pro-Depp in the media frenzy.
- The hashtag #justiceforjohnnydepp has over 10 billion views, with every wiredwhile the hashtag #justiceforamberheard has 39 million.
Yes, but: While most of the most viral content is meant to be funny, survivors of domestic abuse and assault Do not laugh.
- Some Say Their trauma was exacerbated by the flood of memes, clips and jokes shared online about the trial.
- TikTok says it has remove Videos that violate their policies by belittling victims of violent tragedies.
Bottom line: Social media is its own court of opinion, even if the evidence doesn’t match the memes.