On 3 February 2016, Facebook users were surprised by an unusual trending topic, which held that Donald Trump had been nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize:
The claim's appearance on Facebook's trending topic list and fairly definitive wording led many to believe the assertion was without ambiguity: somehow, Donald Trump was in the running for a Nobel Peace Prize. However, such accounts were based on a very loose definition of "nominated," one that relied upon a "Nobel watcher's" report of a single letter which put forth Trump's name (and was quite possibly satirical in nature):
The five-member Norwegian Nobel Committee typically receives more than 200 nominations for the prestigious prize and keeps candidates secret for 50 years. Panel members can make their own nominations during their first judging meeting on Feb. 29.
Nobel watcher Kristian Berg Harpviken, the director of the Peace Research Institute of Oslo, told the French news agency AFP that he had received a copy of the nomination letter, suggesting Trump &mdash who drew criticism from around the world for his vow to ban Muslims entering the United States — should be awarded the prestigious prize for "his vigorous peace through strength ideology, used as a threat weapon of deterrence against radical Islam, ISIS, nuclear Iran and Communist China".
As such accounts noted, Harpviken maintained he'd seen a single letter nominating Trump and was of the opinion that the potential nominee had no real chance of winning the Nobel Peace Prize. Nonetheless, many social media users indicated they believed that Trump had been formally nominated for the prize and/or was seriously in the running to be awarded it.
In general, anyone's name can be suggested for a Nobel Peace Prize, and more than 200 such submissions are made annually.