Death of bin Laden spreads like wildfire on Twitter, Facebook, Google

2 May 2011

News of the killing by US forces of Osama bin Laden, mastermind of the devastating 9/11 terrorist attacks a decade ago, has become something of a new media phenomenon.

The news, which was announced late last night in the US, took the world by surprise. Before official confirmation from US President Barack Obama, CNN reporter Steve Brusk tweeted the news.

He was followed shortly by Keith Urbahn, chief of staff of former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld. Both Urbahn’s and Brusk’s tweets experienced traffic spikes of 4,000 tweets per second, according to reports.

Urbahn wrote: “So I’m told by a reputable person they have killed Osama bin Laden. Hot damn.”

The hashtags #obl, #binladen, #osama and #pakistan are among the top trending topics on Twitter. This being Ireland, they are closely followed by #jedwardineurovision.

On Google News, there were some 16,000 articles gathered on the subject of bin Laden’s death.

On Facebook some 26,480 people have liked the page ‘Osama bin Laden is Dead.’

Bin Laden met his end during a targeted raid in Pakistan and was killed in a firefight between US special forces and his supporters at a compound in Abbottabad.

Keith Urbahn