On September 11, 2001 the Internet could not handle the millions that
descended on the Web in search of information. Eight years later the Internet was brought to it’s knees by the passing of Michael Jackson. Even, normally infallible Google, was miffed. Google posted error messages instead of search results as they mistakenly thought they were under attack by nefarious individuals in their News section due to the large influx of traffic.
There was a battle royal on Wikipedia between the public and the Wikipedia editors. The public wanted to post Michael Jackson’s death and the cause of death, but the editors didn’t feel there was appropriate and reliable sources to back it up. TMZ was the first to break the story, but as a sign of the times people descended upon Wikipedia to determine if what they were hearing was really true. Wikipedia isn’t designed for breaking news, yet people have come to view it as one of, if not, the most credible source since it will weigh the opinion of thousands rather than just a writer and his or her editor.
Are we going to be able to fix the Internet so that it can handle major events like this in future? Only time will tell.