Search giant Google confirmed to the BBC that when the news first broke it feared it was under attack. Millions of people who Googled the star’s name were greeted with an error page rather than a list of results. “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.
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.