Debate: Can the Internet handle big breaking news?

It happens time and time again: when news breaks, the Internet slows.

It’s quite obvious at this point that the Internet has muscled its way into the lives of anyone who needs information. And Michael Jackson’s death Thursday had as great an impact on the Internet as anything in the history of the medium that didn’t involve the World Trade Center.

The statistics are amazing: Akamai said worldwide Internet traffic was 11 percent higher than normal during the peak hours between 3 p.m. PDT and 4 p.m., when news of Jackson’s death was breaking. That traffic forced even Google to its knees for a brief period of time Thursday afternoon.

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