July 7, 2009 / 10:53 PM / 10 years ago

Michael Jackson, King of Facebook

A section of a large Michael Jackson poster is pictured outside Staples Center in Los Angeles July 6, 2009. The memorial for the pop star will be held at Staples Center in Los Angeles July 7. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni

NEW YORK (MediaWeek) - The King of Pop is more popular than the leader of the free world, at least on Facebook.

During Tuesday’s memorial service for fallen music icon Michael Jackson, when numerous news, music and entertainment events streamed the event live, Facebook users were averaging 6,000 status updates per minute. That’s roughly 2,000 more updates per minute than occurred during the inauguration ceremony for President Obama last January.

Just like the inauguration, Facebook users could comment during the Jackson funeral while streaming it live on CNN.com. Perhaps given Jackson’s global appeal, along the 10-day plus news crescendo following his death, Facebook/CNN.com users turned up in droves to view and share their thoughts on the memorial ceremony. According to Facebook officials as of 1:30 EST on Tuesday (July 7) — just a half hour into the ceremony — users had already posted 500,000 status updates. Over 300,000 users were logged in at that time.

Whether the total Web audience for the Jackson funeral tops the inauguration remains to be seen. But Jackson already has over a million more friends than Obama (close to 7 million). Meanwhile, a virtual Michael Jackson glove has become the most popular gift in the site’s history, as over 800,000 gloves have been exchanged by Facebook friends.

Editing by DeanGoodman at Reuters

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