Since Kim Kardashian's controversial appearance on the cover of Paper Magazine in 2014, the term "Break the Internet" has been employed whenever a viral trend or memorable moment seems to crash every news outlet and social media platform. While these breaks are temporary, many seem unforgettable, and countless more are added to the internet annals each consecutive year. There have been a wide range of celebrity trending stories in 2018 that have taken on a life of their own online. From funny memes regarding Kylo Ren's unusual wardrobe choices to baffled reactions to Stormy Daniels's revelations about the president's deep-seated fear of sharks, celebrities who broke the internet this year gave the social media users something new to meme ad infinitum.
Celebrities who broke the internet in 2018, such as Michelle Wolf, Rihanna, and Donald Glover, made entertaining videos, controversial statements, or questionable decisions that stood out among the countless stories cycling through the news. This list of celebrity memes chronicles the backstories and aftermath of each incident, providing a litmus test for the year's political, social, and cultural climate. Vote on which celebrity you think broke the internet most this year as you relive the most prominent viral moments of 2018.
Childish Gambino, AKA Donald Glover, has been a high profile name in music and movies for the last several years. Never was he more prominent in the pop culture spotlight than when he released his music video for his hit single "This Is America." The provocative video garnered praise, think pieces, and even a slew of memes popping up online within the months after its release.
Hundreds (if not thousands) of news outlets, blogs, social media posts, and other mediums tried to dissect exactly what Glover’s music video, rife with contentious imagery representing America’s racial dynamics, was supposed to mean. Glover himself only stated that he made it because it was “Something people could play on Fourth of July.”
Pete Davidson and Ariana Grande both announced their breakups from their respective partners in early May 2018. By the end of the month, Grande and Davidson were officially in a relationship and, by June, were engaged. This sent out a slew of reactions online from fans ranging from celebratory to shocked to outright suspicious.
It did not take long for infidelity rumors to spring up around the internet, given how quickly the engagement occurred. When Grande released the track list of her new album Sweetener, she included a song named after her new fiancé. Fans had a few thoughts about this. One fan commented on Instagram that the song "Pete Davidson" would be the one they would skip “all the time.” Grande replied with equal disdain, leading her to eventually call the commenter “boring.” The exchange was later posted by The Shade Room on Instagram.
Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg sustained several scandals, controversies, and news stories in just the first half of 2018. In March, Cambridge-Analytica, a political data-analytics firm based in the UK, acquired data on over 50 million Facebook users without the users’ knowledge or consent. In a blog post, Zuckerberg addressed the scandal, claiming that, “I’ve been working to understand exactly what happened and how to make sure this doesn’t happen again.”
Trust in Facebook swiftly dropped, leaving the company scrambling to repair public relations. Zuckerberg eventually appeared before the United States Congress to testify about the scandal, leading to scathing online reactions and memes galore that lampooned Zuckerberg. Social media users were particularly taken with Zuckerberg's overly prepared facial expressions and stiff presence, with many tweets and posts insinuating the Facebook founder was secretly a robot.
Game of Thrones star Jason Momoa, starring in the upcoming Auquaman movie, is now famous for his enviable bromance with current Superman Henry Cavill. On the pink carpet for the London premiere of Suicide Squad, Momoa was ecstatic to see his friend, eventually surprising him from behind with a massive hug. The resulting photos spread across the internet like wildfire, prompting plenty of comments on the wholesome attack and an onslaught of memes using an image of Momoa and Cavill.