The 6 biggest news stories of 2023, according to you.

2023 has been a year of big news. There have been news stories that have captivated us, that have had us talking - and stories that have also broken us.

When a news story breaks, many of us reach for our phones to seek answers - relying on a quick Google search to tell us what we need to know.

Google has now calculated these top search queries when it comes to news and world events - and has revealed just what we were looking for throughout the year.

Here are the stories that Australians searched the most in 2023.

1. The Optus outage.

Despite the Internet blackout, the Optus outage was the most Googled story of 2023. The unplanned outage impacted Optus' Internet, cellular and fixed-line services in Australia. 

It also impacted hospitals, banks, train services, calls to emergency services, and EFTPOS payment systems. Overall, it's believed the outage affected around 10 million Aussies and almost half a million businesses. 

Although the outage lasted around half a day - all on November 8 to be exact - it made an impression.

Watch: A look back on the top news story of 2023. Post continues below.

Video via ABC.

2. Israel and Gaza.

Since October 7 2023, news coverage on Israel and Gaza has dominated headlines worldwide. 

More than 20,400 Palestinians have been killed in Israeli attacks this year, as per the UN and BBC. And amid the terrorist attacks in Israel, approximately 1,200 Israelis were killed, according to New York Times.


As violence in the region continues, it's the innocent civilians who have lost the most. As the head of the United Nations children's agency UNICEF said: "The Gaza Strip is the most dangerous place in the world to be a child.

"The true cost of this latest war in Palestine and Israel will be measured in children's lives - those lost to the violence and those forever changed by it. Without an end to the fighting and full humanitarian access, the cost will continue to grow exponentially."

3. The Voice Referendum.

For what felt like a very large portion of the year, news sites were dedicated to giving Australians all the information they needed to know about the Indigenous Voice to Parliament. And it certainly resonated with the public, who were keen to decide where to put their vote.

It prompted important conversations to return to the spotlight, including closing the gap, how First Nations women felt about the referendum, and why thousands of Indigenous Australians weren't allowed to vote.

Although the result of the referendum left the vast majority of First Nations people in mourning, there are hopes these conversations and calls for action will continue into the new year and beyond.

4. Andrew Tate.

Andrew Tate - aka controversial social media influencer, aka alleged rapist and trafficker, aka man who is a self-confessed misogynist - was also heavily reported on this year.

And for good reason.

Tate had amassed millions of followers across social media platforms, promoting his controversial views. With the spotlight on him, Romanian authorities garnered information that led to the arrest of Tate. He was charged with alleged rape, alleged human trafficking and forming a criminal gang to allegedly sexually exploit women. That investigation is now continuing.


A month after he was released into house arrest, Tate sat down with the BBC in a highly combative interview. He denied all the allegations against him. A trial date is yet to be set.

The BBC interview subsequently went quite viral. Major takeaways were that Tate claimed he's acting "under the instruction of God" and that if young men grew up like him, we would have a "better society".

5. Russell Brand.

Russell Brand was another famous face who reemerged in the news for all the wrong reasons.

Four women accused Brand of rape and sexual assault when he was at the height of his fame.

The joint media investigation into Brand said the alleged assaults occurred when Brand was a BBC and Channel 4 presenter and a Hollywood actor.

Brand denied the allegations and said his relationships were "always consensual". In response to the allegations, the 48-year-old released a video statement and took aim at "mainstream media".

Scotland Yard detectives then interviewed Brand over the allegations of sexual offences. The BBC has also launched a review into his behaviour. No charges or arrests have been made. 

Just hours after the allegations were made public, the comedian stepped on stage in front of a crowd of around 2,000 to perform. He received a standing ovation.

6. The Titan Sub.

Last but certainly not least we have the Titanic sub.


The five people aboard the highly exclusive submersible were travelling to see the wreckage of the famous Titanic.

But contact was lost with the vessel about one hour and 45 minutes into its dive. The six-metre submersible, named Titan, had the capacity to stay underwater for 96 hours - giving the five people aboard a short amount of time until air ran out. 

It was a story that simultaneously shocked and fascinated the world. Those onboard all came from very privileged backgrounds, each paying around AUD$350,000 to embark on the risky voyage. 

Then days into the massive international search, an unmanned deep-sea robot discovered the wreckage of the Titan. All on board had died.

The wreckage was found about 488 metres from the bow of the century-old Titanic shipwreck and 4km below the surface. 

The US coast guard said the people onboard had died in what appeared to have been an accident involving a sudden "catastrophic implosion". It had likely occurred very shortly into the voyage, giving some small comfort to loved ones that those on board hadn't suffered.

Overall rescue teams from several countries had spent days searching thousands of square miles of open seas with planes and ships for any sign of the 6.7-metre Titan. The fact, the wreckage and answers were found, considering the odds, was nothing short of remarkable.

It's stories like these that have left an indelible mark on 2023, along with many others.

Feature Image: Getty, AAP, YouTube, Canva, Google, Twitter.

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