According to data from measurement company Experian Hitwise, Twitter experienced its highest ever volume of online traffic on May 21, with the site accounting for 1 in every 184 web visits in the UK on that day. Twitter now commands 0.54% of all UK web traffic.
Saturday's usage was also 10% higher than for Twitter's previous busiest day in Britain, which occurred on May 9 when an account was created claiming to reveal the identities of people who had taken out injunctions to prevent the press from reporting details of their private lives.
Yesterday, Liberal Democrat MP John Hemming publicly named Welsh footballer Ryan Giggs as the player who had taken out an injunction, after his identity became common knowledge on Twitter and was reported in a Scottish Sunday newspaper.
In its research, Hitwise found that there was a big increase in search terms linked to the injunction served on Twitter by lawyers representing Giggs. The fourth most popular web search term was "Ryan Giggs suing Twitter" in the week ending May 21, while "who is CTB footballer" was the tenth most searched term (Giggs was referred to as CTB in submitted court documents).
However, the most frequently submitted web search last week was "gail porter 'sectioned'", referring to reports that the TV presenter was having treatment for mental health problems.
Writing on the Hitwise corporate blog, UK research director Robin Goad said that Twitter's spike in UK traffic shows that the site is growing even faster than Facebook.
"Within the growth of Twitter, 12% of visits to the website are coming from new users. To put that into context, 99.5% of visits to Facebook in the UK come from returning visitors, but Twitter continues to attract new users to its website every single day," he wrote.
"Facebook is clearly much bigger than Twitter (about 15 times bigger in terms of volume of visits) but Facebook's growth in terms of new visitors (in the UK market at least) has been pretty static for some months now."