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    24 Jun 2016

    'What is the EU?' trends on Google in the UK as the country votes for Brexit

    The UK has brought the Brexit debate to a clear resolution: the country has voted to leave the European Union. But while the 72 percent of Britons who have cast their vote appear to have done so with confidence, their search histories tell another story.
    Thanks to Google Trends data, it's possible for us to see what doubts and questions voters typed into the search engine in the privacy of their own homes. Not all of them inspire a vote of confidence. Others are telling of the reactions and concerns of the British public now that Brexit is a reality.
    Some of the frequently asked questions cropping up in Google from within the UK include: "What is the EU?" and "What happens if we leave the EU?" The former was the second top UK question on the EU after the results were officially announced. The latter saw more than a 250 percent spike after polls closed.
    Interest in pound sterling, the UK's currency, reached an all-time high on the search engine -- as its value crashed against the dollar -- and there was more than a 500 percent spike in the term "buy gold." There was also a 100-plus percent spike in UK searches for "getting an Irish passport" and 680 plus percent in searches for "move to Gibraltar," the UK enclave in southern Spain.
    But it's not just people in Britain who are turning to Google to make sense of what's going on. All the top questions typed into Google about the UK globally are about the EU referendum and the results. Ranking second is "why did Britain leave the EU?" and fifth is "what does leaving the EU mean for the UK?"
    Brexit day was also a busy 24-plus hours for Twitter, which saw 6.4 million tweets with the #EUref hashtag posted between 7 a.m. local time when the polls opened on Thursday and 10 a.m. on Friday when Prime Minister David Cameron resigned. As Cameron made his resignation speech, Twitter usage in the UK was at double normal levels, the company said in a blog post.

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