PEJ New Media Index: Twitterers Tackle Murdoch’s Tabloid Scandal

Jul 14, 2011

The ever-expanding British phone hacking scandal involving Rupert Murdoch's media empire grabbed the attention of the Twitter universe last week in a way very few stories have. And they offered virtually no sympathy to the beleaguered Australian magnate.

For the week of July 4-8, fully 53% of the news links on Twitter were about the scandal, according to the New Media Index from the Pew Research Center's Project for Excellence in Journalism. This was more attention in a single week than any topic on Twitter in the past 10 months. And it registered the sixth-biggest subject overall since PEJ began monitoring Twitter in July 2009.

The episode unfolded when employees of Murdoch's News of the World tabloid were accused of hacking the cell phones of a number of people including the victims of terrorist attacks, dead soldiers, and a 13-year-old girl who was abducted and killed. Amid a political outcry and the launching of investigations, Murdoch quickly shuttered that paper and on July 13 with the scandal widening, his News Corp. dropped its $12 billion bid to take over British Sky Broadcasting.

Read the full report, Twitterers Tackle Murdoch’s Tabloid Scandal, on the Pew Research Center's Project for Excellence in Journalism Web site.

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