July 3, 2005
Over 26 Million Text Messages Sent Backing Live 8
PHILADELPHIA (Reuters) -- More than 26.4 million people from around the world sent text messages on Saturday in support of the Live 8 campaign to cancel the debts of the poorest countries, setting a world record, organizers said.
"This is definitely going down as the biggest political call to action," said Ralph Simon, who was coordinating the text messaging campaign in Philadelphia, the venue of the largest of 10 concerts around the world to demand relief of African poverty.
He said the previous record for the most text messages sent on a single day for a single event was around 5.8 million for an episode of the television talent show "American Idol" where viewers vote for the winner.
"I think it would be fair to say we're getting texts messages from people from Albania to Zimbabwe," Simon said, adding that lines would be open until the end of July. He said Western Europe probably accounted for the most messages, though he did not have a breakdown of countries.
"This shows how you can make an imprint with your thumb which becomes your voice which becomes a call to end world poverty," he said.
Irish rocker Bob Geldof and Bono of U2 arranged the concerts to push the Group of Eight leaders of the world's richest nations who meet in Gleneagles, Scotland, next week to take action to eliminate poverty.
"What this means is Bono and Bob Geldof can go to Gleneagles in a few days' time and say we have created the world's biggest text book," Simon said.
AOL.com, which streamed video of the concerts, also claimed a world record, saying that more than 5 million logged on globally to watch, making it the biggest streaming event ever.
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