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Osama bin Laden’s Death The Number One Topic on Social Media Channels
Social media has once again proven its power to bring raw news content to the millions of users worldwide and this time did it ahead of the traditional media channels establishing its image as a viable news source. The news of Osama bin Laden’s death first broke out Sunday night on a micro blogging site Twitter and spread out over the Web at a speed of light.
The first Tweet about the death of Al-Qaida leader and the world’s most wanted terrorist came from the former defense secretary Donald Rumsfeld’s chief of staff Keith Urbahn and was posted in the US before the first TV report and the US president’s announcement.
Urbahn tweeted: “So I’m told by a reputable person they have killed Osama bin Laden. Hot damn.”
President Obama addressed the nation late-night Sunday and confirmed that Osama Bin Laden was killed in a US military operation in a small compound in Pakistan during a firefight.
“Today, at my direction, the United States launched a targeted operation against that compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan,” the president said. “A small team of Americans carried out the operation with extraordinary courage and capability. No Americans were harmed. They took care to avoid civilian casualties. After a firefight, they killed Osama bin Laden and took custody of his body.”
Twitter reported that while the president was giving the statement the number of Tweets per second reached 4,000 getting close to a current record set in Japan after midnight on New Year’s Eve, when 6,939 tweets were sent in one second.
The social media became the top channel for discovering and spreading the news of Bin Laden’s death and the Web was flooded with Tweets and Facebook updates discussing the killing of Osama.
Prior to the rumors about Osama’s death, IT consultant from northern Pakistan Sohaib Athar was tweeting about it without being aware that what was happening in his hometown of Abbottabad was a US military raid which resulted in what would become a major historical event.
His first tweet wrote: “Helicopter hovering above Abbottabad at 1AM (is a rare event).” Hours later Athar found out that what he was tweeting about was a military operation in which the leader of Al-Qaida was killed. He then tweeted, “Uh oh, now I’m the guy who liveblogged the Osama raid without knowing it.”
A Facebook page “Osama Bin Laden is DEAD” currently has more than 320, 000 likes and the number seems to be growing by the minute. Various online services are contributing to further informing the masses about the event. One such service is Google Maps which has supposedly pinpointed the location where Bin Laden was killed.
Today Osama bin Laden continues to be one of the hottest search terms nationally, according to Google Trends.