Which Search Phrase Did Google Temporarily Ban Under The Belief They Were Experiencing A Cyber Attack?
Answer: Michael Jackson
There is very little doubt that Michael Jackson was one of the most popular performers of the 20th century with a career that involved platinum records, world tours, and, most important to our bit of trivia today, world renown.
When the King of Pop passed on June 25, 2009, the news took social media websites and the general Internet by storm. After the news broke, 15 percent of all communication on Twitter was about Jackson (and at peak demand the Jackson-fueled chatter actually brought the site down briefly). Nearly a million people visited Jackson’s Wikipedia page within the first hour of his death announcement.
The surge in interest was so high, in fact, that Google engineers and security experts thought the Google servers were under a Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attack by a massive botnet. For a period of time the servers automatically banned the search term “Michael Jackson” to cut down on the incredible traffic hammering the servers. Once the company realized it wasn’t a malicious and coordinated attack but the curiosity of millions upon millions of fans the world over, the term was unlocked and search requests resumed.