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World Cup, Ebola top Facebook sharing list

[WASHINGTON] Football's World Cup and the Ebola outbreak topped the list of topics shared by Facebook users around the globe in 2014, the social networking giant said Monday.

The World Cup was the top item, followed by the Ebola crisis, Brazilian elections, the death of actor Robin Williams and the "ice bucket challenge," which saw participants around the world doused with frigid water to raise funds for research on Lou Gehrig's disease.

Rounding out the top 10 were the conflict in Gaza, Malaysia Airlines - which lost two aircraft during the year - the Super Bowl, the Ferguson, Missouri protests following the death at the hands of police of an unarmed black man, and the Sochi Winter Olympics.

But the most shared items varied considerably in different countries.

In the United States, Ebola and the ice bucket challenge were the top two items, followed by Robin Williams, the Super Bowl and the Ferguson, Missouri protests. The World Cup was number six for US users.

Britain's most shared topic was the Scottish referendum, followed by the ice bucket challenge and World Cup.

In Australia, Robin Williams topped the list followed by Prime Minister Tony Abbott and Malaysia Airlines.

India's general election was the hottest topic in that nation, Facebook said, with the Indian Premier League of cricket second. In Mexico, it was the World Cup, the arrest of drug cartel leader Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman and Pope Francis.

In Spain, the top item was the Primera Liga of football, political activist Pablo Iglesias and the World Cup.

Germany's most shared news was their country's triumph in the World Cup - die Weltmeisterschaft - followed by the country's Bundesliga football league and entertainer Helene Fischer.

For France, the World Cup topped the list followed by Prime Minister Francois Hollande.

In Brazil, the biggest topic was the national election, followed by the World Cup, which it hosted, its annual festive Carnival celebration.