What the UK's Late-Night Brexit Googling Reveals

People were trying to learn the basics, but AFTER the vote
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 24, 2016 10:53 AM CDT
Screenshot of Google search.   (Google)

(Newser) – So the United Kingdom voted for Brexit, PM David Cameron announced his resignation, and scores of people starting frenetically Googling "What happens if we leave the EU?"—just a few hours after they already voted en masse to do so, the Verge reports. Google Trends tweeted there was a 250% spike in just one hour for that search term after the polls had closed. And Friday morning, even more confused people didn't seem to understand what had gone down the day before, with Google Trends reporting a 2,450% spike in the somewhat panicked "Are we in or out of the EU?" Other after-the-fact queries that saw a boost included: "What happens to foreigners if we leave the EU?," "What happens if we stay in the EU?," and the search term that Ars Technica dubs to be perhaps the most worrisome: "What is Brexit?"

All of this leads the Verge to ponder why such a "wildly complex" issue of the UK defecting from the EU was left to a people's referendum instead of in the hands of "independent experts" who may have had a better grasp on the issues. "Referendums are a brute-force political engine, a numbers game designed to spit out a yes or no answer on a simple question," the site notes. But UK residents had apparently "had enough of experts"—at least according to the country's justice minister, Michael Gove, who had recently made controversial comments comparing pro-EU economists to Nazi sympathizers, per the Guardian. At least some UK citizens seem to have wrapped their head around what the Brexit vote could mean for them: The search term "getting an Irish passport" jumped 100% Friday morning—although Northern Ireland is part of the UK, Ireland proper is independent of it. (What's next after the Brexit vote.)

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