Twitter Traffic Surges in the UK

Traffic is surging to Twitter and major media websites in the UK as the London riots enter their fourth night.

Twitter has been the biggest beneficiary of the unrest, according to web analytics firm Experian Hitwise. The social information network accounted for 1 in every 170 UK Internet visits on August 8. Hitwise also reports that approximately 3.4 million people from the UK visited Twitter’s homepage yesterday, easily surpassing the traffic Twitter garnered during the super-injunction scandal.

The social media impact of the London Riots seems to be limited to Twitter, though. Facebook, the world’s largest social network, didn’t receive a similar traffic spike. Hitwise attributes this anomaly to the fact that Twitter’s most prolific users are located in London postal codes, while Facebook is more dominant in the northern UK.

Twitter Traffic Surges in the UK

News and media websites also gained traffic as a result of the London riots. Traffic to UK news and media sites increased by 14% between Monday and Tuesday. The BBC was the biggest benefactor, garnering a third of all Internet visits to UK news and media websites. Sky News was also a big winner, thanks to a surge in searches related to the riots.

Social media and mobile technology have been playing a major role in the riots. Rioters have been using BlackBerry Messenger to organize their activities, while other citizens have utilized Twitter and Facebook to organize riot cleanups.