Chewbacca Mom won Facebook in 2016 — and it wasn’t even close.
The viral video of Candace Payne, a previously unknown mother of two, donning a Chewbacca Mask she bought at Kohl’s and laughing hysterically while wearing it in her car was the most-watched Facebook Live video of 2016. It has 162 million views as of Thursday.
It's the simple joys in life....Posted by Candace Payne on Thursday, 19 May 2016
It nearly doubled the view count for the next closest live video, this clip of musician Ted Yoder playing some bizarre stringed instrument called a hammered dulcimer. He’s really good!
Winning Facebook comes with a lot of upside, it turns out. Payne has collected hundreds of thousands of dollars in free perks since her video went viral, including free tuition for her whole family at a small Christian college in Florida. She also met “The Late Late Show” host James Corden, visited Facebook’s headquarters and got her own action figure.
The irony, of course, is that while this was a Facebook Live video, the vast majority of views came after the four-minute video had actually ended. Still, Facebook has been pushing Facebook Live all year long, so it’s not a surprise they would break out a list of popular live videos from 2016. (It did not unveil a list of non-live videos.)
Oh, and it wasn’t a bad promo for Disney’s “Star Wars,” either, which releases its latest blockbuster next week. Or Kohl’s, which immediately sold out of Chewbacca masks online after the video went viral.
A few other tidbits from Facebook’s year in review:
- The U.S. presidential election was the most talked about event on Facebook this year. Shocker.
- Pokémon Go was the third most talked about topic on Facebook this year, ahead of Black Lives Matter, Brexit, the Olympics and the Super Bowl.
Here’s Facebook’s official 2016 video that Mark Zuckerberg shared on his page today.
Every year we share a video with some of the biggest moments on Facebook that year. 2016 was a difficult year for a lot of people around the world. But what gives me hope is that even our darkest moments were a little brighter because of the connections we shared with each other. As we head into 2017, I believe more than ever in the power of this community -- to teach us, to console us, to celebrate with us, to open our minds and to help us move forward together. Here's to a healthy and happy 2017!Posted by Mark Zuckerberg on Thursday, December 8, 2016
This article originally appeared on Recode.net.