The decade of the 2010s saw the rise of social media and the proliferation of digital tools that allow people to alter photos and videos. When you put those two forces together, you get a lot of fake images circulating. And these were the ones that helped define the past 10 years.
The Game of Thrones Starbucks cup debacle. Watching Notre Dame go up in flames. The moment the world fell in love with Baby Yoda. Going through Google’s top searches of the year feels like flipping through a scrapbook of the internet’s collective obsessions. Released this week, the company’s annual “Year in Search” gives a snapshot of the most impactful celebrities, news, and trends of 2019—at least, in terms of Google searches—and this year’s data illustrates one fact very clearly: In its first full calendar year in America, TikTok has become the new progenitor of memes.