The top 25 most viral news sources on Facebook and Twitter

Today, Lauren Indvik of Mashable published our fantastic infographic of the most viral news sources in the English language.

The infographic ranks news sites based on how many viral stories they produced during the month of January 2012. We define a viral story as one getting at least 100 likes or shares (on Facebook) or 100 Tweets (on Twitter). We’ve ranked the top 25 news sources in each category.

We collected all this data using NewsWhip’s discovery and data collection engines. They discover almost all the free news and major blog posts produced in the English-speaking world each day, and track how they spread on social networks. While we only use the data temporarily – to build a picture of what’s taking off in real time – we collect it, to make a really neat data set. From that, we extracted the following:

We had to do some work on our data set to produce this infographic. For example, some sites (like MSNBC or CNN) publish into many subdomains (like today.msn.msnbc.com or money.cnn.com). For these sources, we united their subdomains into one single domain so they would be fairly counted.

One thing we’re missing: sites with paywalls and partial paywalls. We have only partial data sets for these, so it seemed better to exclude them than have them half-counted. Hence NYTimes.com, WSJ.com and FT.com are not included.

We hope you enjoy the data. There are some big lessons there on the future of news – a place where we’re sure social distribution will play a huge role.

Follow us on Twitter for more. And check out the awesome NewsWhip.com.