June 26, 2009

Web Overwhelmed By News Of Jackson’s Death

As news of Michael Jackson's death began to spread on Thursday, hordes of people turned to the Web in a global event that caused the Internet to slow down.

The first source to break news of Jackson's death was AOL-Time Warner's celebrity news Web site TMZ.com. TMZ's report was followed by the nightly network news less than one hour later, but during the time in between, people turned to the Web in massive numbers to gain more information.

Twitter co-founder Biz Stone told the Associated Press that tweets about Jackson's death dominated the social network, which logged the most tweets per second since the election of President Barack Obama.

"We saw over twice the normal tweets per second the moment the story broke as people shared their grief and memories," Stone said.

The name "Michael Jackson" showed up on Twitter in more than 66,500 Tweets before the company's servers experienced a brief traffic jam, according to TweetVolume.

Web traffic to news sites saw about a 50 percent increase after news of Jackson's death broke, according to Akamai's Net Usage Index.

What's more, so many people began to Google Jackson's name in order to gain more information that Google News interpreted the event as an automated request from a computer virus or spyware application.

"It's true that between approximately 2.40PM Pacific and 3.15PM Pacific, some Google News users experienced difficulty accessing search results for queries related to Michael Jackson and saw the error page," Google spokesman Gabriel Stricker told BBC News, whose Web site reported traffic to the site was 48 percent higher than average after Jackson's death was reported.

And just one day after Jackson's death, the current top five albums, and top seven of the top 10 at iTunes all belong to Michael Jackson, according to Rolling Stone. On Amazon's MP3 store, Jackson is found at the top of the list in sales for the day.