World Wide Web Trembled Following Michael Jackson's Death
"The internet suffered a number of slowdowns as people the world over rushed to verify accounts of Michael Jackson's death. Search giant Google confirmed to the BBC that when the news first broke it feared it was under attack.
Millions of people who searched for the star's name on Google News were greeted with an error page. It warned users "your query looks similar to automated requests 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," said Google spokesman Gabriel Stricker.
It was around this time that the singer was officially pronounced dead. Google's trends page showed that searches for Michael Jackson had reached such a volume that in its so called "hotness" gauge the topic was rated "volcanic".
The BBC news website reported that traffic to the site at the time of Jackson's death was 72% higher than normal.
Google was not the only company overwhelmed by the public's clamour for information.
The microblogging service Twitter crashed with the sheer volume of people using the service. [...] Early reports of Mr Jackson's death and the confusion surrounding it caused a rash of changes and corrections to be made on his Wikipedia page as editors tried to keep up with events and the number of people trying to update the page.
TMZ, the popular celebrity gossip site that broke the story following a tip-off that a paramedic had visited the singers home also crashed.
There was a domino effect as users then fled to other sites. Hollywood gossip writer Perez Hilton's site was among those to flame out.
Keynote Systems reported that its monitoring showed performance problems for the web sites of AOL, CBS, CNN, MSNBC and Yahoo.