Twitter's super-injunction surge


Who's done well out of the super-injunction saga - besides the lawyers of course? The answer appears to be Twitter.

Obviously the San Francisco-based site did not set out to be at the centre of a British media firestorm. But the result, according to some figures I've been shown, has been a big surge in traffic.

Experian Hitwise, which gets its data from internet service providers, says UK traffic to Twitter's website hit a new high on Saturday, as a footballer's attempts to use the courts to identify people behind various tweets dominated the headlines. The traffic was 22% higher than the previous day.

Experian graph showing UK visits to Twitter

The record before then had been set on 9 May, when the headlines were about the Twitter account used to reveal the names of those who'd taken out injunctions - including some inaccurate information.

Since March, Twitter's share of all UK web traffic, as measured by visits to sites, has risen from around 0.34% to 0.54% on Saturday. It may not sound that much but it represents many millions of people coming to Twitter for the first time. By contrast, Facebook accounts for 7.64% of UK internet visits, and the BBC News website for 1%.

Experian Hitwise says 12% of all the visits to Twitter last week were by new users, and the fastest growing group of users over the last year has been 35-44 year olds.

The research company concludes that Twitter, once the preserve of early adopters, geeks and news junkies, is now reaching new audiences. So is this the tipping point that persuades mainstream users in the UK to move from other social networks?

It's probably too early to say - after all it's not every day that you can get exclusive access to material not available in the mainstream media. But it looks as though the events of the last few weeks have accidentally provided Twitter with one of the most powerful marketing campaigns ever seen on the web.

No doubt they'll be raising a glass in San Francisco to a certain professional footballer who cannot - for now at least - be named here.

Rory Cellan-Jones, Technology correspondent Article written by Rory Cellan-Jones Rory Cellan-Jones Technology correspondent

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  • rate this

    Comment number 62.

    My feeling is that politicians may be talking about injunctions, but what they are _thinking_ about is the "Arab Spring".

    In the Internet's youth, before the suits, generally, were aware of it's existence there was a valuable resource based in Finland under the domain It was killed by a very similar court case by people with a lot to hide. Sometimes we _need_ anonymity.

  • rate this

    Comment number 61.

    Surely in order to be prosecuted for breaching a super-injunction you would need to be served with the injunction? Otherwise as no-one can mention who the injunction is for one cannot be assumed to know who not to say. The alternative is not to say anything about anyone - which completely undermines the right to free speach. Thus surely, by that logic, they are unsustainable?

  • rate this

    Comment number 60.

    Pandatank hit the nail on the head. People are confusing freedom of speak/press with uncontrained gossip. Would they shout out rumours at their childrens playground? If the press spent less money and time on this they would have more resources for investigative journalism - using verified facts (not libelous gossip). Ironicly we here are all hiding behind anonymity - and 'censored' by the BBC..:)

  • rate this

    Comment number 59.

    I'm sure Twitter has done well out of this. Then again - the real story isn't Twitter, is it? That's like saying that the real story in a newspaper scoop is the newspaper itself. Wrote about this earlier in a post entitled "is Twitter an angry bird?" :

  • rate this

    Comment number 58.

    II was one of the many thousands who chose to name the footballer on Twitter.
    I couldn't care less what footballers get upto in their private life, but I do believe passionately in freedom of speech.
    The more important aspects of this story actually refer to the Trafigura & Fred the Shred cases. These are real stories of Public Interest & that's why I chose to comment on Twitter.


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