Social Media has played a huge role in spreading breaking news stories in recent times and in the case of the death of Osama Bin Laden this is particularly true. President Obama released an official statement announcing the death of Osama Bin Laden during a raid by U.S forces in Abbottabad, Pakistan on the 1st May at 11.30pm. However, this is not the first time many of us heard this news thanks to social media.
Talk of his death originated from an IT consultant who resides in Abbottabad who Tweeeted unbeknown to him about the US helicopters flying overhead. He didn’t find out until 9 hours later that he was actually tweeting about a top secret mission to kill an internationlly wanted terrorist.
The first credible source post came from Keith Urbahn, the Chief of Staff for former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, who tweeted “I’m told by a reputable person they have killed Osama Bin Laden.” This tweet spread like wild fire reaching a traffic spike of 4,000 tweets per second and reaching a record breaking 12.4 million tweets in 1 hour aiding the death of Osama Bin Laden to be one of the most tweeted events in history.
Google saw a 1million percent increase in searches related to ‘bin laden’ during the 1 hour period from 10.30 to 11.30 Sunday, which was 1 hour before the official statement was even released. The ‘Osama Bin Laden is Dead’ Facebook page has surpassed 470,000 likes.
This clearly demonstrates how effective social media channels are becoming in comparison to traditional media forms.