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Exclusive: How Long News of Terror Attacks Takes to Spread on Google

2 minute read

Over eight days in March, four separate terror attacks left over 150 people dead. Online, the world searched for information related to the incidents at varying speeds, according to search engine data exclusively shared with TIME.

Google compiled international searches during the minutes that elapsed following terror attacks on March 22 in Brussels, on March 25 in Istanbul, on March 27 in the Pakistani city of Lahore, and on March 19 in the ancient city of Iskandariya in Iraq.

The graphic below, prepared by Google, shows how quickly news of each attack spread around the world, starting at the first minute where a related search shows up.

The chart gives time lines for when searches from 13 cities around the globe occurred following the four terrorist attacks, showing the minutes elapsed before searches began to increase.

The March terror attacks in the Belgian capital city took some 35 lives, including the three attackers, after two explosions rocked the Brussels airport and a third hit a subway station. The news of the Brussels attacks spread faster than the other attacks, as the first searches for Brussels took place outside of the country within only a few minutes, while searches for the other attacks started much later.

The attacks in Pakistan, however, were much bloodier than the others—leaving some 70 dead and more than 300 wounded. It only took 32 minutes before searches from New York began to pour in after the Brussels attacks, but took more than an hour after the attacks in Lahore and two hours before responding to the Iskandariya suicide bombing.

Google also highlighted the specific search inquiries from each city regarding the Brussels attacks. Universal questions include: “Why Brussels?” and “What happened in Brussels?” While other cities like Madrid, Paris, Delhi and Hong Kong had their own unique questions about the blast, including “How did the suicide bombers enter departures?” and “When will Brussels-Midi open?”; while people in Brussels searched “How to get out of Brussels?” and “Where to donate blood in Brussels?”

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