Michael Jackson Is Gone, What It Means for the Internet
Article by George Norman
On 26 Jun 2009
It is with great regret that we report that Michael Jackson, one of the most loved musicians and entertainers out there, has passed away at age 50. MJ’s passing occurred unexpectedly on the 25th of June, 2009, apparently due to cardiac arrest – but the autopsy that has been scheduled for today, Friday, will tell whether hear failure was the cause of the artist’s death or whether his passing is due to other causes.

“Michael Jackson was a brilliant troubadour for his generation, a genius whose music reflected the passion and creativity of an era. His artistry and magnetism changed the music landscape forever. We have been profoundly affected by his originality, creativity and amazing body of work. The entire Sony family extends our deepest condolences to his family and to the millions of fans around the world who loved him,” said sir Howard Stringer, Chairman, CEO and President of the Sony Corporation.


While we all regret Michael Jackson’s death, here is how this tragic event influenced the internet.

The Internet is Big, MJ Is BIGGER
As reports of MJ’s death started to surface, fans all over the world turned to the internet for confirmation. Consequently a large number of entertainment web pages felt the strain of having too many visitors; consequently they behaved sluggish or they broke under the pressure. Amongst the affected web pages are those for ABC, AOL, CBS, CNN Money, MSNBC, NBC, SF Chronicle and Yahoo News – all these sites took up to 9 seconds to load, which in the internet world is like forever.

Michael Jackson Breaks Twitter
Popular micro-blogging site Twitter was amongst those who took MJ’s death the hardest. As Twitter users rushed to report the news or find additional details about the King of Pop’s death, the server’s took such a pounding that Twitter had to disable the search feature for a while (the search feature is now back up and running).

Just to put things in perspective, the number of Tweets following MJ’s death surged to approximately 5,000 per minute. According to Twitter co-founder Biz Stone, this is the biggest increase the site has seen since the U.S. presidential elections.

Beware of Michael Jackson Related Spam
Be weary of any unsolicited message (email, text, IM) that claims to have some breaking news about Michael Jackson’s death. Spammers have wasted no time in exploiting this tragic incident for their benefit.

A word of warning is provided by Director of Technical Education with Sophos, Randy Abrams: “The news broke a short time ago that pop star Michael Jackson died of a heart attack. It is all too predictable that the bad guys will use this news event to spam out fake videos or links to alleged pictures in order to trick users into installing their malicious software. If you receive an email about Michael Jackson simply delete it unless you know the sender and you verify (call, email or chat) the send sender actually did send it to you. If you receive an IM about Michael Jackson and it has a link, ignore the link. Don’t click on it. If you want to find real news about Michael Jackson then go to a real news site.”

You should also be on the lookout for Farrah Fawcett spam as she also died on the 25th of June.

Tags: Michael Jackson, MJ, Internet, Twitter, Security, Spam, Sophos
About the author: George Norman
George is a news editor.
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