The whistleblower website WikiLeaks recorded a huge growth in its social media following in the past week as its ‘cablegate’ leaks have begun to be released across the world.
Before the first leaks hit the papers last Sunday evening, WikiLeaks had 188,947 followers on Twitter, a number that has risen to more than 300,000 followers today.
In the past seven days, the account has seen an unprescedented 59 per cent growth rate for followers compared to an average Twitter account growth of 0.71 per cent in the same period.
Due to problems with hosting for the main website and what WikiLeaks report as continued denial of service attacks on their servers, the official Twitter account has become the most consistent and stable form of instant communication for the organisation since the leaks went live.
As calls grow ever-louder from many political figures around the world for the WikiLeaks website to be closed and its founder Julian Assange to face legal charges, the Twitter account has become a central hub for supporters to remain informed of the latest revelations released, the plight of the founders and to donate money towards the cause.
A similar upward trend has been recorded on the organisation’s official Facebook page which has rapidly become an aggregator of many of the most sensational leaked cables as well as a discussion forum for supporters of the organisation.
On November 28th, when the first leaked cables appeared in selected newspapers around the world – which included the Guardian in the UK- WikiLeaks had 151,000 fans on Facebook, a number that has again risen by more than 100,000 people to 265,000 today.
This 80 per cent weekly fan growth for WikiLeaks compares to an average 0.2 per cent growth average across Facebook in the same week.
Although the importance of social media has become a rather overused early 21st Century buzz phrase, with regard to a subversive organisation such as WikiLeaks, it is easy to see just what important tools Twitter and Facebook are.
Yesterday they tweeted: ‘WikiLeaks is the first global Samizdat movement. The truth will surface even in the face of total annihilation.’
And with much of the ‘truth’ cleverly put in the hands of mainstream media organisations before the balloon went up, a 1.4gb secret ‘history insurance’ file circulating, and hundreds of thousands of active and engaged social network supporters ready to respond instantly to spread the word … it’s very hard to see how any individual, government or army can stop the leaks from continuing.