POLITICS OVER PORN: Brexit Gets More Google Searches than ‘Porn’ as People Try to Find Out Meaning for UK

Google became a key source of counsel for many people in the wake of the British decision to leave the EU – with searches like ‘What happens if we leave the EU?’ surging in the wake of the announcement.

brexit-kiss

The Independent by Andrew Griffin Wednesday 29 June 2016

A couple kiss outside the Houses of Parliament during a protest aimed at showing London’s solidarity with the European Union following the recent EU referendum

There is one accepted truth about the internet: nothing will ever be as popular as porn. But in post-Brexit Britain a lot of accepted truths don’t look so true.

For perhaps the first time ever, a question of British politics became more interesting to more people than pornography.

In the wake of the British decision to leave the EU, searches for “Brexit” were by far larger than every other topic, as people looked to find out what exactly had just happened.

It surged above “porn” – long accepted as the gold standard for search interest on the internet. And it surged above just about everything else, too: with far more people looking for information about Brexit than about football, even during Euro 2016; Taylor Swift despite her well publicised burgeoning relationship with Tom Hiddlestone; and just about anything else.

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Comparison between searches for Brexit, football and Taylor Swift over the last week, across the world (Google Trends)

During the height of Brexit confusion, on Friday morning, there were more than three times as many searches for Brexit as there were for porn. Those results were true worldwide as well as in the UK.

But in the UK the event also appears to have had an impact on people’s libido, too. During Friday morning, searches for porn never saw their usually dependable rise in Britain.

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British searches for porn, in red, and Brexit in blue (Google Trends)

It even beat out the November 2014 surge for Kim Kardashian searches when her naked “break the internet” cover was published. Even at that point, Kim Kardashian was only 94 per cent as interesting as Brexit for people around the world.screen_shot_2016-06-29_at_12.45.32.png

Kim Kardashian in Blue, and Brexit in red. The highest and most recent blue peak marks Ms Kardashian’s naked magazine cover (Google Trends)

Google became a key source of counsel for people in the wake of the Brexit vote, with many taking to the search engine to find out exactly what was happening to them – searches for phrases including “What happens if the UK leaves the EU” surged as it became clear how the vote was going. But the comparison with popular search terms shows just how much the question occupied the popular mind.

Brexit and pornography did also have another unusual run-in this week. Soon after the UK voted for Brexit, it emerged that someone had ignored a video showing Boris Johnson’s final speech that was uploaded with the title “dumb British blonde f***s 15 million people at once”.

All of The Independent‘s reporting on Brexit and its impact can be found here.

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