Wikipedia's most-viewed articles in 2012 were...

What people searched for on the Web encyclopedia this past year was mostly to be expected -- like actors, musicians, and world events -- but there were a few oddball entries too.

The top 10 most viewed articles on English Wikipedia during 2012. Johan Gunnarsson

English speakers seem to be interested in action movies, boy bands, and Facebook.

New stats compiled by Swedish software engineer Johan Gunnarsson detail the top 100 most-viewed articles on Wikipedia over the past year. The online encyclopedia doesn't create its own year-end list but does let people read its log files, according to AllThingsD. This top 100 list compiled by Gunnarsson, which comes in several languages, is the first time users can see Wikipedia's most popular articles over the course of a year.

For the English language Wikipedia, which is the most popular version of the site, "Facebook" won as the most viewed article, with more than 32.5 million visits. "Wiki" came in second, with more than 29.5 views, and "Deaths in 2012" was third, with almost 25.5 views.

According to AllThingsD, Gunnarsson gives a couple of explanations for why Facebook is No. 1. First is that people may be interested in popular Web properties, and second, users type in Facebook and mistakenly go to Wikipedia instead of the social-networking site.

Among the other top 10 most viewed pages were those for the boy band One Direction and for action movies, including "The Avengers," "The Dark Knight Rises," and "The Hunger Games."

Looking more broadly -- in the top 100 -- people were interested in all sorts of different topics, from sex to World War II to Steve Jobs. There are definite patterns with pop culture icons, like Justin Bieber and Rihanna, and movies and TV shows, like "The Amazing Spiderman" and "Game of Thrones." A few oddballs include the word "elocution," the phrase "2012 phenomenon," and a page about human penis size.

About the author

Dara Kerr is a staff writer for CNET focused on the sharing economy and tech culture. She grew up in Colorado where she developed an affinity for collecting fool's gold and spirit animals.

 

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