#JeSuisCharlie has become one of Twitter's all-time top hashtags

Catherine Neilan
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Je Suis Charlie: The phrase used to show solidarity for the victims of the Paris attacks (Source: Getty)

#JeSuisCharlie - the phrase used to show solidarity with the victims of the Charlie Hebdo attack - has become one of the most popular hashtags in Twitter’s history.

The attack, which took place on Wednesday morning, gave rise to the hashtag spontaneously as people used social media to express their support for those who had been killed and for the Charlie Hebdo team’s no-holds-barred stance towards free speech.

Nine staff, one guest and two police officers were killed on Wednesday. A second shooting yesterday morning claimed the life of a female police officer. It developed into a hostage situation, which came to a conclusion this afternoon with the death of three of the suspects and four hostages.

Je Suis Charlie became a near-universal phrase, used in vigils around the world. But on social media, it was even more dominant.

Twitter said the hashtag had been used more than 3.4m times, peaking on Thursday evening when there were nearly 6,500 tweets per minute, according to CNN.

However, it’s not enough to push #JeSuisCharlie to the number one spot, Twitter added.

Other hashtags have also emerged, including #JeSuisAhmed - the name of one of the police officers who was killed, highlighting a view that while many people did not like Charlie Hebdo’s provocative cartoons they respected the magazine’s right to publish them.

Alongside that #JeNeSuisPasCharlie also trended, with some people saying they were not brave enough to take the risk the Charlie Hebdo cartoonists had done.

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