As the news of Osama Bin Laden’s death rapidly spread Sunday night, Internet traffic across the world showed a dramatic increase. As President Obama spoke, global page-views-per-minute showed an increase of 24%, with web traffic in South America and Australia more than doubling. Despite the huge increase, the 4,118,000 page views per minute were not enough to break the top 15 news events according to numbers from Akamai. The top 15 new events are largely dominated by sporting events, with sports occupying four of the top five spots.
Google Trends ranked the search “Osama Bin Laden dead” as volcanic, which is the highest rating assigned to a trending search term. At one point, all twenty of the top trending searches were related to the news of Osama’s death, which is undoubtedly a rare event.
During the event, Twitter users were tweeting at a rate of 5,106 tweets per second, which equals the second highest amount in Twitter’s history, and a significant increase over the usual rate of 1680 tweets per second. Additionally, before the White House had even released the news to the media, the news of Obama’s death was tweeted by Keith Urbahn, former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld’s chief of staff. These numbers show how powerful social media sites like Twitter have become in spreading breaking news across the Internet.