Twitter record ... Barack Obama's photo. Photo: AFP
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A photo posted by President Barack Obama on his Twitter and Facebook pages just as TV networks announced his victory has made social media history as the most retweeted and shared ever.
The shot of a happy-looking Obama holding his wife in a loving embrace - captioned with the words "four more years" - had been retweeted over 729,000 times on Thursday morning and "liked" by 3.6 million people on Facebook.
Obama sealed his tech-savvy reputation on Tuesday by announcing his win on social networks with the photo, hours before his victory speech.
"This Barack Obama photo is the most-liked Facebook photo of all time," the social network announced.
The tweet broke the popularity record held by singer Justin Bieber, whose tribute to a fan who died of brain cancer garnered a "mere" 200,000-plus retweets, according to AllTwitter, which tracks the social network.
Meanwhile, Twitter said in a blog post that people sent more than 31 million election-related tweets throughout election day, with up to 874,560 tweets being posted per minute.
"These numbers reflect the largest election-related Twitter conversation during our 6 years of existence," said Mazen Rawashdeh, Twitter's vice president of infrastructure operations engineering.
Twitter usually sees a spike in activity during large events, such as New Year's Eve or the Olympics Closing Ceremony, but during yesterday's election there was a sustained jump in Twitter traffic.
There was an average of about 9965 tweets per second from 8.11pm to 9.11pm US Pacific Time, with a one-second peak of 15,107 tweets per second at 8.20pm and a one-minute peak of 874,560 tweets per minute.
"Seeing a sustained peak over the course of an entire event is a change from the way people have previously turned to Twitter during live events," said Rawashdeh.
Social networks emerged as key tools in the US presidential campaign, with both Obama and his Republican foe Mitt Romney staging major pushes on Twitter, Facebook and others to draw in supporters and get them to vote.
But while Romney has increased his presence hugely on social media compared to 2008 Republican presidential candidate John McCain, Obama is seen as having retained the upper hand from his successful online campaign four years ago.
AFP and Fairfax Media