Google Searches 7 Times Higher For Notre Dame Than Sri Lanka

Google Searches 7 Times Higher For Notre Dame Than Sri Lanka

Google Searches
Pakistani Christians light candles during a vigil and special prayer service for the victims of the bomb explosions in churches and hotels in Sri Lanka, in Islamabad, Pakistan, Thursday, April 25, 2019. The Easter Sunday suicide bombings at churches and hotels killed over 350 people and injured 500. (AP Photo/B.K. Bangash)

Which would you think more people cared about — the burning of a historic building or the violent loss of hundreds of lives? Well, it seems, there was more online search interest for the fire at France’s iconic Notre Dame Cathedral than the Easter Sunday bombings across Sri Lanka.

The fire at Notre Dame got seven times more searches on Google than the bombings in Sri Lanka killed nearly 300 people.

Google Trends data found that search results for both disasters have plateaued, but when comparing them Notre Dame had much more interest.

“Within 24 hours of both incidents, Trends says that the Notre Dame fire recorded between five and nine times more search interest than Sri Lanka. There were no deaths reported in the April 15 fire which tore through Paris’ famous gothic cathedral, but analysis of the data reveals that it was only in three countries; neighboring India, Indonesia, and the United Arab Emirates, where searches for the Sri Lanka blasts outnumbered those of the Paris fire,” Al Jazeera reported.

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So what’s behind that lack of interest in the human tragedy of Sri Lanka. According to Al Jazeera’s data and SEO analyst, Gabriele Kahlout, it might be that Notre Dame story was “closer to home” and had more of an appeal for an English speaking Western audience.

“Conversely, in India, Sri Lanka is ‘closer to home’ and that why it was reflected more prominently in India’s search trends,” he said.

“We see this pattern all the time. When news of the Ethiopian Airlines crash broke out, Google Trends reported that people in America were searching for American victims of the crash.”

Is there an issue of race involved? Sri Lanka was a mainly a story about people of color. The attacks there injured more than 500 people and killed more than 200. The attacks were a series of coordinated bombings at churches and hotels.

“While Google does not release the exact numbers of searches, according to Trends, France, Mexico, Argentina, Italy, and Brazil all reported 90 percent more searches for Notre Dame than for Sri Lanka,” Al Jazeera reported.

There has even been a disparity in donations. In fact. Several billionaires have been criticized for donating to the restoration of Notre Dame instead of other human causes.

So far pledged donations from French billionaires, companies, and ordinary citizens have reached 900 million euros (or more than $1 billion US) after just two days.

The donations promoted speculation that they were are made so quickly so as to benefit tax breaks on charitable donations.

“People on social media, both in France and abroad, have expressed frustration that other disasters – from the Syrian and Iraq refugee crisis to the Grenfell Tower fire in London – have not received anything like the same degree of support,” Global News reported.

Interestingly, after the Notre Dame fire people donated $1.2 million on GoFundMe to aid Black churches in Louisiana that had been burned by acts of arson.