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Social media users flocked to Pornhub during major Facebook, Instagram outages


The porn site received surges in usage and huge spikes of certain search terms

Emanuele Cremaschi/Getty Images

Facebook and two of its major apps — Instagram and WhatsApp — all shut down for hours on Wednesday, sending users to other websites looking to get their digital fix. This was all good news for Pornhub, which saw major surges in overall traffic during the outages, and huge spikes in searches for certain terms.

What are the details?

Beginning at around 11 a.m. ET, Facebook's apps started having issues due to what the company referred to as a "server configuration change," the Washington Post reported. Intermittent functionality and full-on outages lasted until midday Thursday for some customers.

In the meantime, undeterred social media addicts flocked elsewhere, and Pornhub benefitted. The site — which averages 90 million users per day — reported seeing an immediate 11 percent spike in overall traffic after the Facebook outages began. Viewing subsided during the afternoon hours before surging to a 19 percent increase in the evening compared to the average day.

Pornhub also noticed dramatic increases in searches for certain terms on March 13. Searches for "Instagram" jumped 323 percent, and for "Facebook" by 221 percent.

The folks over at CNET noted that searches for "tentacle porn" went up 308 percent on Pornhub during the social media outages, and provided an explainer.

Following tentacle porn, there was a 274 percent increase in searches for "WWE," and a 236 percent uptick for the word "game."

CNET also pointed out that Pornhub experienced a spike in traffic last October thanks to a YouTube outage. But the porn site doesn't always benefit from major cultural events. Pornhub took a hit in traffic during the Season 6 premiere of HBO's "Game of Thrones" in 2016, and saw a dip in users last year during Apple's iPhoneXS announcement in September.

Anything else?

Pornhub wasn't the only place users fled to during the shutdowns. Many took to Twitter as a substitute, using the platform to vent their frustrations and look for updates to the other apps, USA Today reported.

According to the New York Times, even Facebook had to use Twitter to keep customers informed, after the company's own bug report tool flatlined.

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