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This study explains when, how and why WikiLeaks emerged as a global phenomenon. Its media strategies were clearly systematised into three stages. Web analytics tools were used to collect data from four different levels of digital popularity: Google searches for the term "WikiLeaks", "WikiLeaks" website traffic, Twitter activity and Twitter followers. Data for more than five years were analysed (from December 2006, when WikiLeaks arose, to the Stratfor case, in 2012). Our results indicate that, in the age of the network society, the popularity of a digital and anti-establishment phenomenon such as WikiLeaks (and the impact of its messages) paradoxically depends on traditional press newspapers ("quality press"). Therefore, newspapers still maintain their influence and legitimising power.
Web Analytic; Public Opinion; Newspapers; Network Society; WikiLeaks; Opinión pública; Periódicos; Sociedad red; WikiLeaks