Virtually every social network has a system that allows you to like posts that you agree with or enjoy. This includes Twitter, with the most liked tweets of all time racking up millions upon millions of hearts. But liking a post doesn’t always mean you have strong feelings towards it, or want to truly interact with it – this is where retweets come in.
If you aren’t one of the 330 million users active every month on Twitter, you might be wondering – what’s a retweet? Is it the same as sharing? In that case, how do you forward a tweet?
A retweet shares another account’s tweet onto your own profile, so it also displays in the feeds of your followers. This is how most famous tweets gain traction, with the most popular tweets usually becoming noticed after a popular user has hit the retweet button.
So, let’s countdown the most retweeted tweets ever, find out the different ways you can post a tweet that will get retweeted, and what makes for a popular tweet.
20. 10 Years of One Direction – 920,000 retweets
Any One Direction fans here?! If you don’t know the name, 1D are a massive and enormously successful British pop act that broke up in 2016, breaking the hearts of millions of fans. Plenty of fans still hold the band dear too, as demonstrated by a recent tweet of theirs that gained over 900,000 retweets!
Despite being indefinitely on hiatus for around four years, the band can still evidently draw a lot of social media attention, especially as the post hinted at the possibility of a reunion to mark ten years since One Direction were established.
19. Indonesian Politics – 940,000 retweets
You might not be too familiar with the politics of Indonesia, but clearly enough people on Twitter are invested for intellectual entrepreneur Denny Januar Ali’s tweet endorsing presidential candidate Joko Widodo to have amassed over 900,000 retweets.
It seems as though this made a significant impact on Widodo’s campaign, as not only did the then-rising star politician win the 2014 presidential election, but he also maintained the position in 2019’s election. Whether the tweet revealed his existing popularity, or bolstered him to victory, it’s easy to see how retweets can indicate the public’s attitude on a huge range of world events and people.
18. The World Record Egg Returns (now deleted) - 960,000 retweets
You may have heard of the most liked photo on Instagram – a simple picture of an egg, posted by the user @world_record_egg, which managed to get over 18 million likes on the platform. This is for sure impressive, and it’s understandable that someone may have wanted to gain similar success on Twitter with this tweet, which aimed to be the highest retweeted tweet of all time.
Unfortunately, though, they didn’t quite reach their goal this time. But while it may not have gained the title of ‘the most retweeted tweet’, it nonetheless got a place on this list for being one of the most popular tweets on Twitter, and achieved a respectable 960 thousand retweets before being deleted.
17. The Manchester Attack – 1 million retweets
The Manchester arena terrorist attack in May of 2017, which killed twenty-three people including the attacker, was one of the darkest events to take place in Britain in recent memory. Ariana Grande, whose concert was targeted by the bombing, was devastated, along with her fans and their friends and families.
She expressed this in a tweet that simply stated how she was feeling ‘broken’, a heart-breaking post that captured the enormous worldwide impact of the incident, as shown by it amassing over a million retweets from those grieving alongside her. Social media is a powerful tool in bringing people together from all over the globe, and this was sadly demonstrated here.
16. Help for Hurricane Victims – 1 million retweets
In a similarly tragic turn event, Hurricane Harvey in 2017 devasted Houston, Texas, leaving many without their homes or belongings. Many people wanted to help but felt powerless – until the simple action of a retweet was able to help those in need.
For every retweet the Penn State Infraternity Council’s post gained, the organisation pledged to donate $0.15 to those affected by the hurricane.
This tweet clearly amassed a lot of attention, and this act of generosity resulted in more than a million retweets, meaning that the council pledged to donate $150,000 to help hurricane victims. If the promised money was actually given, this is a brilliant and heart-warming example of social media influence being used for good, and it more than earned its spot on this list.
15. Jerseys for NBA Fans – 1.01 million
If there’s a group that can gather together to express their passion for a subject, it’s sports fans – in this case, NBA fans, more specifically of the Chicago Cavaliers. American football player Damarious Randall tweeted before the 2018 NBA finals that if the team were to win, he would buy everyone who retweeted his tweet a team jersey.
Unfortunately for the fans, though perhaps luckily for Randall, the Chicago Cavaliers were beaten that year by the Golden State Warriors, preventing the need for him to buy over a million jerseys, but allowing him to gain over a million retweets!
14. One Million Retweets for a Puppy – 1.03 million retweets
Picture the scene: you’re desperate for a new puppy, but your parents aren’t quite so sold on the idea. This is the exact situation that Twitter user Ryan Sesselman found himself in, but rather than giving up on the idea, he decided to turn to Twitter for help.
He asked his mom how many retweets it would take to convince her – giving him a high bar to clear, she said one million!
But if there’s something the internet unanimously loves, it’s cute animals, and fortunately, Ryan managed to hit that near-impossible goal, later posting that he was able to adopt the puppy! Who knew that making a tweet with the fourteenth most retweets of all time would lead to such a happy ending?
13. BTS Against Racism – 1.04 million retweets
BTS are one of the most popular and beloved musical acts of all time, and the growth of their enormous worldwide fandom shows no sign of slowing down (spoiler: this definitely isn’t the last of them we’ll see on this list). But you’d be mistaken in thinking that the upbeat K-Pop group shy away from heavy hitting issues – case in point, their strong stance against racial prejudice.
Aligning with the recent surge in popularity of the #BlackLivesMatter movement, which primarily speaks out about police brutality against African-Americans, BTS tweeted in support of those protesting against racial inequality, using their vast influence to acknowledge injustice and fight for what is right.
12. $10,000 From MrBeast – 1.14 million retweets
The famous YouTuber MrBeast is known for his extravagant videos and giving away huge chunks of his estimated $18 million fortune, but he gained even more attention by offering a staggering $10,000 to a lucky person who retweeted!
Getting $10,000 is potentially life changing, so it’s understandable that over 1.1 million people decided to take a chance and retweet to possibly earn some easy money. If the idea of free cash is appealling (and let’s be honest – why wouldn’t it be?!) then you might want to keep track of what MrBeast’s doing on social media; it’s estimated that he’s given away over $2 million to friends, streamers, and random strangers in the past 2 years.
11. In My Feelings Challenge, J-Hope Style – 1.16 million retweets
In an earlier tweet, BTS engaged with a dance challenge that gained huge amounts of traction in 2018: the #InMyFeelings challenge, soundtracked by Drake’s song of the same name. In a tweet from July of that year, BTS member J-Hope is shown dancing outside of a moving car to the song, with the hashtag in the tweet.
Though the post itself wasn’t anything out of the ordinary, the combination of one of the most popular groups in the world participating in a trending challenge meant that the tweet became the 11th most retweeted of all time, resulting in nearly 1.2 million retweets. J-Hope isn’t the only BTS member racking up amazing numbers of re-tweets though.
10. Jungkook’s The Bad Guy (Duh) – 1.32 million retweets
The then 17-year-old Billie Eilish was one of the hottest new acts of 2019, with her catchy number 1 hit ‘Bad Guy’ becoming most people’s song of the year. So what do you get when you combine one of the biggest hits of all time with one of the biggest K-Pop groups of all time? Over 1.3 million retweets!
The video posted, captioned #Duh, shows BTS member Jungkook lip synching to the song while dancing around in a hoodie and posing for the camera. This definitely made the many K-Pop fans (or ‘stans’) on Twitter happy, while also winning over some Billie fans to BTS.
9. Jungkook Covers Never Not by Lauv – 1.4 million retweets
Jungkook didn’t stop at lip syncing Billie Eilish when it comes to references to other musical acts! The K-Pop star actually managed to top his own record with a recent cover of Lauv’s ‘Never Not’, a more serious and emotional post from the singer that showcases his angelic voice.
This may be the last instance of BTS appearing on this list, but I wouldn’t be surprised if they manage to claim some even more impressive numbers in the future – maybe next time another member will get the spotlight!
8. Limonada 2.0 – 1.57 million retweets
This tweet, featuring only a single word, a number, and an Easter Island head emoji, might seem a little confusing out of context, but enough people understood this cryptic meaning for the tweet to gain over 1.5 million retweets! Of course, it has much to do with the celebrity who tweeted it – ElRubius, a Spanish YouTuber with over 38 million subscribers – and a history of giving away prizes to retweeters.
Obviously ElRubius is no stranger to bringing in some impressive numbers on social media, but why did this tweet in particular garner so much attention? The answer: the original ‘limonada’ tweet (see no.6 on this list) promises a variety of prizes to randomly selected people who liked/retweeted the tweet. Limonada 2.0 didn’t quite reach the heights of the original – but it wasn’t far behind.
7. Obama Speaks Out – 1.64 million retweets
Surprisingly, the most liked tweet of all time isn’t the same as the most retweeted! Obama’s recent stand against racial inequality quickly became the most liked tweet on Twitter, and gained an impressive number of retweets alongside that record, currently sitting at over 1.6 million!
Of course, it must be easy to achieve huge social media numbers when you were one of the most popular US presidents of all time, and what he says must still resonate with people around the world. He may no longer be in charge, but Obama’s vocal stance supporting #BlackLivesMatter still managed to impact a huge number of people, as shown by him earning the most liked twitter post.
6. Limonada 1.0 – 1.82 million retweets
The original ‘limonada’ tweet from ElRubius still stands as the most retweeted, with an incredible 1.8 million retweets – a whole 300 thousand more than the sequel! Apparently the original still stands as the best, as the first rollout of this idea was able to make far more people click the retweet button in exchange for prizes.
This follows what is becoming a familiar, and understandable pattern: if you offer your followers an incentive for retweeting, they will! It may be a less accessible method of getting retweets, requiring huge amounts of money, but if you’re ever aiming to post the most retweeted tweet, this obviously isn’t a bad direction to take!
5. Some One Direction Love – 2.67 million retweets
This tweet is by far the oldest on this list, having been posted in 2011, but it didn’t originally gain this level of attention then. Nine years ago, this tweet was mainly retweeted by Directioners (One Direction fans) who followed band members Harry Styles and Louis Tomlinson, viewing this tweet from Louis as a potential sign of their romance.
In retrospect though, with the band breaking up and rarely talking to or about one another, the recent retweets this tweet gained were likely to be far more ironic in tone; essentially making fun of the good old days when their favourite band would actually tweet at one another. It’s easy to scroll back in time and feel nostalgic over old interests, and Twitter is no exception.
4. The World’s Most Famous Selfie – 3.13 million retweets
Not only is this one of the most retweeted tweets of all time, it may also be one of the most tweeted pictures! This selfie posted by internationally famous talk show host Ellen Degeneres was taken at the 2014 Oscars by Bradley Cooper, and features celebrities like Jennifer Lawrence, Meryl Streep and Brad Pitt.
With such a stellar lineup, it’s easy to see why this tweet became so popular – you’re basically guaranteed to spot one of your favourite actors! And while this selfie did some incredible numbers in terms of retweets, achieving over 3.1 million, it’s also likely to be the most tweeted photo of all time from people sharing and commenting on it in other ways!
3. A Year of Free Nuggs – 3.42 million retweets
Much like the puppy tweet earlier on this list, this tweet asked for a certain number of retweets so that the user could be given something they wanted – in this case, a year of free chicken nuggets from popular US fast food chain Wendy’s!
Unfortunately for user Carter Wilkerson though, he didn’t quite clear the crazy bar set by Wendy’s, who required him to achieve an unprecedented 18 million retweets for the nuggets. Still, he did manage a respectable number of 3.4 million – surely that’s worth at least an order of fries?
2. One Million Yen For 1000 People – 3.85 million retweets
The second most retweeted tweet of all time comes from Japanese billionaire Yusaku Maezawa, who offered a million yen (Japanese currency) to a select few people that retweeted his tweet. The offer was framed as New Year’s gift, as the new year is a major Japanese celebration, and it’s easy to see why so many people wanted to take up his offer!
For those who aren’t familiar with the Japanese conversion rate, a million yen is roughly equivalent to £7000 or $9000, so the offer was certainly generous – but Maezawa’s generousity and wild ideas don’t stop there…
1.One Million Yen For 100 People – 4.4 million retweets
So, what is the most retweeted tweet? Currently standing as arguably the most popular tweet of all time with over 4.4 million retweets, Yusaku Maezawa’s initial giveaway tweet still stands as the most retweeted tweet ever.
Like ElRubius with the original Limonada post, it seems like the first instance of a giveaway is often the most popular – who knows what crazy amount of money it will take for Maezawa to top his own record?
If Maezawa does decide to dominate Twitter with a big giveaway, even billions of yen is unlikely to make a dent in his fortune.
The 44-year old entrepreneur and art collector is estimated to be worth around $2 billion – and is considered to be the 22nd richest person in Japan. At an art auction in 2016, he spent $98 million in 2 days – but his contribution to the art world doesn’t stop there. By 2023, he’s promised to take 6-8 artists on a trip with him to into space for 6 days – so wild displays of wealth are no surprise from Maezawa.
What makes a successful tweet?
So, what can we learn from this list of the most retweeted tweets of all time?
Firstly, people love to get something for nothing – charging a single retweet for a jersey, some lemonade-related prizes, or some free money is definitely an enticing offer.
Secondly, being an established public figure is always helpful – if you’re Obama, Ellen DeGeneres, or a member of BTS, people will almost always be interested in what you have to say, especially if it’s topical or trending.
Finally, people like to see others succeed, and if your success is dependent on them simply clicking the retweet button - whether it’s for nuggets or a puppy, they’ll likely oblige.
Tweets that will get retweets can be created in a variety of ways, and hopefully this list of the all-time most retweeted tweets will give you some idea of how to write and post your own viral tweets!
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