Your Facebook news feed may be stuffed with friends taking the ice bucket challenge, but the charitable craze has been hugely popular on YouTube too.
In fact, ice bucket challenge videos have been watched more than 1bn times on Google’s online video service, with YouTube labelling the meme ‘bigger than Harlem Shake’ – referring to the dance craze of early 2013.
In a blog post, YouTube’s Claire Stapleton and Kevin Allocca claimed that “Ice Bucket” videos have been posted on YouTube from more than 150 countries, with the phrase becoming the site’s top rising search query in August.
“While 90 percent of videos came from the US in the early days of the trend, within two weeks, the majority of IBC videos were uploaded from outside the US,” they wrote.
Former Microsoft boss Bill Gates’ inventive video is the most-watched so far, with more than 19.7m views on YouTube. Actor Charlie Sheen (18.2m) and ice hockey player Paul Bissonnette (8.7m) are the next most popular.
The ice bucket challenge started as a viral way to raise money for and promote awareness of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS – or motor neurone disease as it’s known in the UK).
US charity The ALS Association has so far received $110.5m in donations from the challenge, which involves people pouring buckets of iced water over their heads, then nominating others to follow suit and/or donate.
“As a charitable phenomenon, the Ice Bucket Challenge is unprecedented in the history of YouTube. As a collaborative, participatory meme, it has a lot in common with last year’s explosive Harlem Shake,” wrote YouTube’s Stapleton and Allocca.
“But it’s actually even bigger than Harlem Shake at its onset. In the first month after these memes took off, IBC has about double the uploads and three times as many views compared to the Harlem Shake.”
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