US Elections helps Twitter, Facebook to big traffic spikes

statue of liberty united states us elections

Although Donald Trump won the electoral vote Wednesday, it seems that Twitter and Facebook were the real winners.

The two social networks saw a massive spike in traffic thanks to US Elections coverage, this according to a new report by Sandvine’s Internet Phenomena blog.

The social elections

According to Twitter, the social network saw a billion tweets about the elections since August 2015, with tweets about Clinton and Trump gradually growing and spiking more often since.

donald trump hillary clinton elections 2016 twitter

Image: Twitter

Top tweeted policy issues also included “Foreign Affairs” with 50-million tweets, “Terrorism” with just under 30-million and the “US Economy” at 25-million. But those stats were prior to the Elections on Tuesday evening and Wednesday — election day.

Twitter and Facebook saw huge spikes on the eve of the US Elections, as Netflix traffic dwindled

Sandvine notes that both Twitter and Facebook saw an increase in traffic on Tuesday night, with the former nearly doubling its traffic figures, and Facebook accruing nearly 30% more visitors.

donald trump hillary clinton elections 2016 mentions brandwatch

Image: Brandswatch

According to social analytics company Brandwatch, Twitter saw its largest traffic spike as Trump was announced the victor early Wednesday morning, with 30 000 tweets mentioning him per minute. That’s 500 mentions per second just before 3am ET.

That number also dwarfed Clinton’s mentions by around 300%.

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“She only overtook once (around 8pm when a number of states announced their results),” the company’s Gemma Joyce explains.

Apocalypse now?

Brandwatch also noted that “End of the world” flavoured tweets spiked on election day, peaking at just over 8000 mentions as compared to 4 November, with around 2000.

donald trump hillary clinton elections 2016 end of world brandwatch

Image: Brandwatch

The company analysed tweets containing phrases like “end of the world” to “armageddon”. Yeah, really.

Netflix leads overall US traffic drop

And finally, while Twitter and Facebook rolled in the traffic, Netflix — one of the internet’s biggest traffic users — suffered. Sandvine found traffic to the streaming video service was down by a quarter.

“Instead of using their big screen TVs to watch Stranger Things on Netflix, subscribers may have been glued to the strange things being shown in the news coverage,” Sandvine’s Dan Deeth comments.

netflix traffic elections 2016 sandvine

Image: Sandvine

As a result, North American internet traffic also dipped Tuesday night by around 15%. At times, Netflix can be attributed to more than a third of the downstream traffic usage in North America, with the likes of YouTube claiming just 15% in comparison.

Sandvine expects traffic to return to normal today.

Andy Walker, former editor


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