Michael Jackson's death knocks Google & Twitter offline

Web struggles to cope with surge in traffic

Jackson, in his iconic Thriller role.

Jackson, in his iconic Thriller role.

News of Michael Jackson's death caused a massive surge in internet traffic last night, temporarily crashing Google and driving huge amounts of traffic to popular sites such as Twitter and BBC News.

The Press Association reports that so many people headed to Google to verify early reports of Jackson's death that Google's News servers interpreted searches for "Michael Jackson" as an automated attack for about 30 minutes.

The BBC News website reported that UK traffic was 48 percent higher than usual at 4am on Friday, while Twitter traffic also surged.

Ethan Zuckerman, a fellow at the Berkman Center for Internet and Society at Harvard, said that Jackson quickly became the most popular topic on the micro-blogging site as soon as he was rushed to hospital yesterday.

"My twitter search script sees roughly 15% of all posts on Twitter mentioning Michael Jackson," wrote Mr. Zuckerman on his Twitter page. "Never saw Iran or swine flu reach over 5%."

However, at one stage Twitter also failed to cope with the surge in traffic, according to reports. Five of the top ten trending topics on Twitter were related to the pop king at 9am on Friday morning.

Thousands of people switched to Twitter from AIM after AOL's instant messaging service failed to cope with a surge in traffic, according to PC World magazine US.

Users from the UK, US, and Australia all reported problems. During the 40 minutes of AIM blackout, more than 4,000 people turned to Twitter to find out what was happening with AOL's service, only to find out that Michael Jackson was hospitalised. Then came reports that the 50-year old singer is dead.

Jackson collapsed at his Los Angeles mansion and was rushed to hospital by paramedics before being pronounced dead at 2:26 pm (2126 GMT). Celebrity gossip site TMZ has been credited with breaking the news after a tip-off that a paramedic had visited the singer's home.

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Oliver Garnham

Unknown Publication
Show Comments

Cool Tech

Toys for Boys

Family Friendly

Stocking Stuffer

SmartLens - Clip on Phone Camera Lens Set of 3

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Aysha Strobbe

Microsoft Office 365/HP Spectre x360

Microsoft Office continues to make a student’s life that little bit easier by offering reliable, easy to use, time-saving functionality, while continuing to develop new features that further enhance what is already a formidable collection of applications

Michael Hargreaves

Microsoft Office 365/Dell XPS 15 2-in-1

I’d recommend a Dell XPS 15 2-in-1 and the new Windows 10 to anyone who needs to get serious work done (before you kick back on your couch with your favourite Netflix show.)

Maryellen Rose George

Brother PT-P750W

It’s useful for office tasks as well as pragmatic labelling of equipment and storage – just don’t get too excited and label everything in sight!

Cathy Giles

Brother MFC-L8900CDW

The Brother MFC-L8900CDW is an absolute stand out. I struggle to fault it.

Luke Hill

MSI GT75 TITAN

I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it.

Emily Tyson

MSI GE63 Raider

If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.

Featured Content

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?