Facebook Gets Big Numbers in Coverage of Jackson Memorial

By Chris Preimesberger  |  Posted 2009-07-07 Print this article Print

Facebook, which claims to have more than 200 million users, played a central role in interactive Web communications during the event at the Staples Center in Los Angeles. The social networking site reported some impressive traffic-related statistics shortly after the 2-hour-long event ended.

Much of the world stopped what it was doing July 7 to watch the Michael Jackson memorial event in downtown Los Angeles on live television. But another huge number of fans also viewed the event on the Web and commented on it to their friends -- using such services as Facebook, Twitter, FriendFeed and other social networking sites.

Facebook, which claims to have more than 200 million users, certainly played a central role in interactive Web communications during the event. The popular social networking site reported some instant traffic-related statistics shortly after the 2-hour-long event ended, and they were impressive.

"CNN once again utilized Facebook Connect and the Live Stream Box so that Internet users across the globe could watch the Michael Jackson memorial service live while simultaneously updating their Facebook status and following their friends on Facebook," Facebook spokesperson Brandee Barker told analysts and reporters in a broadcast message during the event.

Facebook users were able to connect with other Jackson fans around the world and watch the live Webcast without leaving CNN.com's Facebook Live video player, Barker said.

A total of about 1 million users posted approximately 800,000 status updates on Facebook related pages to the live online broadcasts by CNN, E! Online, ABC and MTV of Jackson's memorial service.

Here is a breakdown by Website, according to Facebook:

  • CNN: 733,000 status updates; 759,000 Facebook users viewed the Webcast; 6,000 updates per minute at the peak.
  • E! Online: 9,000 status updates; 87,000 Facebook users viewing broadcast.
  • ABC: 48,000 status updates; 97,000 Facebook users viewing broadcast.
  • MTV: 5,000 status updates 21,000 Facebook users viewing broadcast. 
To put this into context, Barker said, on U.S. Inauguration Day, Jan. 20, 2009, there were 1.8 million Facebook status updates with the word "Obama" - an event that was broadly publicized for months leading up to it. And the series of events that day went on for more than 12 hours.

Here are a few more factoids from Facebook:

  • Facebook's Live Stream Box was implemented on the home pages of E! Online, MTV and ABC News to broadcast the Jackson memorial service only two weeks after it became available for self-service use.
  • The Michael Jackson page has grown to have nearly 7 million fans, making it the largest single following of any public figure on the Web and 1 million more than President Obama's page.

Chris Preimesberger Chris Preimesberger was named Editor-in-Chief of Features & Analysis at eWEEK in November 2011. Previously he served eWEEK as Senior Writer, covering a range of IT sectors that include data center systems, cloud computing, storage, virtualization, green IT, e-discovery and IT governance. His blog, Storage Station, is considered a go-to information source. Chris won a national Folio Award for magazine writing in November 2011 for a cover story on Salesforce.com and CEO-founder Marc Benioff, and he has served as a judge for the SIIA Codie Awards since 2005. In previous IT journalism, Chris was a founding editor of both IT Manager's Journal and DevX.com and was managing editor of Software Development magazine. His diverse resume also includes: sportswriter for the Los Angeles Daily News, covering NCAA and NBA basketball, television critic for the Palo Alto Times Tribune, and Sports Information Director at Stanford University. He has served as a correspondent for The Associated Press, covering Stanford and NCAA tournament basketball, since 1983. He has covered a number of major events, including the 1984 Democratic National Convention, a Presidential press conference at the White House in 1993, the Emmy Awards (three times), two Rose Bowls, the Fiesta Bowl, several NCAA men's and women's basketball tournaments, a Formula One Grand Prix auto race, a heavyweight boxing championship bout (Ali vs. Spinks, 1978), and the 1985 Super Bowl. A 1975 graduate of Pepperdine University in Malibu, Calif., Chris has won more than a dozen regional and national awards for his work. He and his wife, Rebecca, have four children and reside in Redwood City, Calif.Follow on Twitter: editingwhiz

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