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The Biggest Stories Of 2014? Now, Wait Just A Minute

End-of-year rankings of news stories are silly. They’re arbitrary. They’re soon forgotten.

Many of them also are premature. The year had 22 days left when Facebook unveiled its 2014 recap. Twitter followed the next day. Google waited until Dec. 16.

A lot has happened in those lost days since the fast-moving tech companies decided to call it a year, but before the laggards among us will welcome 2015.

An AirAsia Indonesia passenger jet crashed mysteriously, with 162 people aboard. Members of the Pakistani Taliban massacred 145 people at a school. A man killed two police officers in Brooklyn, then killed himself. Sony cancelled, then un-cancelled, its release of “The Interview.” The United States and Cuba moved to restore diplomatic relations.

Studios and publishers can time their releases to make the cut for premature year-end lists of the best movies and books. The news doesn’t stick to any schedule.

Spokespeople for the three tech companies said they have no plans to update their recaps after the year is done. They also declined to update the numbers to check if any subsequent stories would have made the cut.

“Unfortunately, we won’t be able to run any additional data this year,” Facebook spokeswoman Angie Newman said.

Google spokeswoman Roya Soleimani touted the search company’s comparatively late release date. “Our Year in Search is one of the last roundups of the year, especially when you look at others out there,” she said. “We try to capture as much of the year as possible, but as you can imagine there are constantly things happening around the world.”

Carl Bialik was FiveThirtyEight’s lead writer for news.

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