Using The Global Frontpage Graph To Trace Homepage Links Mentioning "Masks"

Using a single query in BigQuery it is trivial to process the complete 208-billion-link Global Frontpage Graph to examine how many links on more than 50,000 news homepages worldwide each day have mentioned the word "mask" by day since the start of this year!

The following query processed 1.4TB in just 14 seconds:

SELECT substr(CAST(DATE AS STRING), 0, 8) DATE, count(1) FROM `gdelt-bq.gdeltv2.gfg_partitioned` WHERE LOWER( LinkText) like '%mask%' and DATE(_PARTITIONTIME) >= "2020-01-01" group by DATE ORDER BY DATE asc

Yielding the final graph below.

Online news outlets have infinite publication space, meaning breaking stories do not displace other stories like they do in television news. The homepages of online news outlets, however, do exhibit this displacement process in which editorial decisions of what stories each day are the most "important" are brought to the forefront in a process known as "agenda setting." This makes the GFG especially powerful for understanding these subtle signals of what editors across the world deem the most important stories of the moment, every hour day by day.