Bin Laden News Takes Its Place in Social Media History

A graph of the spike in page views surrounding the news of bin Laden's death.

Last Friday, the Internet strained under the weight of all the interest in the Royal Wedding. Over the past 18 hours or so, the Internet has once again been tested by the news of Osama bin Laden’s death.

CNN says 4,000 tweets per second were posted at the peak of the news, putting it at the same level as the number of tweets for the Super Bowl but well below the number of tweets sent around the earthquake in Japan (more than 6,000). And according to Twitter PR, it was the “highest sustained rate of tweets ever,” with 5,106 tweets per second sent at 11 p.m. ET.”

(Latest Twitter news: TechCrunch announces that Twitter will purchase Tweetdeck.)

At its peak, news sites saw 4.1 million page views per second. The largest peak was June 24, 2010 when the World Cup qualifying matches and the longest tennis match ever were being played at the same time.

A sidebar to these stats, CNET discusses the stress and inaccuracies that come with getting raw news from Twitter. And Simon Dumenco writes on Ad Age that “a lot of the hyperventilating about Twitter ‘breaking’ the bin Laden story is just bullshit.” Both make interesting points (the latter makes it in a slightly shrill voice) that news crossing Twitter should be taken with a grain of salt until there’s definitive confirmation.

[Image from Akami, via Mashable]