Skip to main content

Osama bin Laden dead: The Internet reacts

Osama Bin Laden Dead Killed

Osama bin Laden is dead. The leader of the al-Qaeda terrorist network, responsible for the deadly September 11, 2001, attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon, was killed today in a fire fight in Pakistan, President Barack Obama confirmed Sunday night.

“Tonight I can report to the American people and to the world, that the United States has conducted an operation that has killed Osama bin Laden — the leader of al-Qaeda and a terrorist who is responsible for the murder of thousands of innocent men, women, and children,” said President Obama in a late-night press conference, which aired live on the official White House website.

Related Videos

The demise of the world’s most sought-after super-villain resulted in an explosion of online activity. While we do not have exact numbers yet, we experienced extremely long load times on a number of major news websites, including, and CNN’s mobile website crashed entirely after the news erupted through the public consciousness.

Word of bin Laden’s death first leaked via White House communications director Dan Pfeiffer, who enigmatically announced on Twitter: “POTUS to address the nation tonight at 10:30 PM Eastern Time.” Some journalists reportedly received ominous emails that read only: “Get to work.”

Social media sites like Facebook, Twitter and Reddit exploded with activity. Twitter became the first platform through which the news of bin Laden’s was reported. And In a short time, “Osama Bin Laden” shot to the top of Twitter’s top trending topics, worldwide. That was closely followed by the hashtag #obl. “Mission Accomplished,” the infamous slogan of former President George W. Bush, also made the list, as did “Wolf Blitzer,” “Watching CNN,” “Jack Bauer” and “Islamabad.”

A Facebook page entitled “Osama Bin Laden is DEAD” already had more than 180,000 “likes” at the time of this writing. Another, called “The guy who killed Osama,” also popped up nearly instantly. It currently has more than 15,000 “likes.”

Reddit’s “new” submission page was flooded with attempts to be the first to report the staggering revelation to that news-hungry community. Reddit user “illbite” quickly won the honor of the No. 1 spot on Reddit’s front page. The No. 2 and No. 3 spots were also taken by the Osama bin Laden news.

On Tumblr, Osama bin Laden’s death instantly became a meme, with users posting a wide variety of content, from celebratory to cynical. Many more users posted screen grabs of news publication websites with typos, like one of KTXL FOX40 in Sacramento accidentally (?) declaring “Obama bin Laden dead” instead of “Osama.”

Obviously, the implications of bin Laden’s death spread further and deeper than the instantaneous ramblings of the Internet machine might imply. But whatever those implications are, we’re pretty sure they will first be reported in a tweet.

(Image via)

Editors' Recommendations

Reddit just launched a poll feature. Here’s how to create one
top reddit posts 2019

Is a hot dog a sandwich? Does Superman’s costume look better with or without trunks? Reddit is full of opinions, and today the front page of the internet is launching a new way to share those thoughts: Polls. The new post format aims to provide a new way to interact without posting a comment.

Polls are a new post type that allows users to ask a question with up to six potential answers. The user also sets a deadline for the poll to finish, but polls cannot be open for longer than one week. The new post type is available for all communities except those that are designated as text-only (such as the r/AskReddit).

Read more
Canadian authorities launch investigation into Clearview facial -recognition app
Facial Recognition Composite

Several privacy authorities in Canada announced they have launched an investigation into the use of the Clearview app, as reported by Reuters. The agencies, including privacy commissioners of Canada and of the provinces of British Columbia, Alberta, and Québec, are coming together in a joint effort to investigate whether the app breaks any of Canada's privacy laws.

The Clearview app has been the source of much contention since the public was made aware of it thanks to a report in the New York Times last month. It works by scraping large amounts of information, particularly photos, from websites like Facebook or Twitter. Then, when a subject is imaged, it searches for matching images of their face. Essentially, the app can snap a picture of someone and then show wherever their face appears on the internet.

Read more
Facebook bans misleading content and ads about the 2020 census
facebook independent oversight board mark zuckerberg  viva tech start up

Facebook is taking new initiatives to help protect the 2020 census by banning misleading information and prohibiting ads that shed a negative light on the constitutionally mandated process. 

The social network’s new census interference policy includes prohibiting misrepresentation of dates, times, methods, and the government’s involvement in the census, as well as coordinated interference. The updates were announced in a blog post on Thursday, December 19, and will begin to be enforced starting next month. 

Read more