Obama's same-sex marriage tweet goes viral

In just eight hours, the president's tweet announcing his support for same-sex marriage gets retweeted more than 50,000 times.

Screenshot by Dara Kerr/CNET

At 12:18 PT this afternoon, shortly after President Obama got on TV and publicly announced for the first time that he supports same-sex marriage, this tweet was posted on his Twitter page:

"Same-sex couples should be able to get married." --President Obama

Just eight hours later, this tweet had been retweeted more than 50,000 times... and counting.

Normally, people can only see up to 50 retweets on Twitter's own counter. But these numbers are being tallied by a customized ticker made by "evangelist/hacker" Michael Schonfeld, according to tech news site The Next Web. He told TNW that he used Twitter's "rest" API to create the ticker, which can be seen at retweetingobama.com.

That's an extraordinary number of retweets. Nobody seems to know what the record for retweets actually is, but for some perspective, recent tweet records include this year's Superbowl (with 12,233 tweets per second) and the Barcelona vs. Chelsea soccer match last month (with 13,684 tweets per second). The all time high is the December television broadcast of the Japanese anime movie "Castle in the Sky," with 25,088 tweets per second.

When CNET contacted Twitter for comment, the company said that the same-sex marriage conversation on the social network peaked at 7,347 tweets per minute at 12:22 PT and that there were 1.6 million gay marriage-related tweets over the course of the day, which doubled the previous record when New York state passed its law.

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