The Guardian posts an article titled “The 10 commandments of website design” that compares internet users attention span to that of a goldfish, likely in a figurative sense.
The BBC publishes an article titled “Turning into digital goldfish” that states internet users can have “an attention span of nine seconds - the same as a goldfish.” MIT researcher Ted Selker is quoted in this article, but denies providing the writer with any information related to goldfish.
Video marketing firm Wyzowl publishes infographic citing the Goldfish Myth, infographic is subsequently published on multiple marketing blogs, including Hubspot.
Statistic Brain publishes their “Attention Span Statistics” page, featuring statistics on human attention span in 2000 and 2012, along with goldfish attention span. These figures are attributed to The Associated Press, but without further detail.
Microsoft publishes “Microsoft Attention Spans” report, which cites Statistic Brain as source of data on goldfish vs. human attention spans. The story is then picked up by Time Magazine, Telegraph, The New York Times, and more.
UCSF student publication, Synapse, states in an article that “MIT researchers are claiming that the addictive nature of web browsing can leave individuals with an attention span of only nine seconds, the same as a goldfish,” in an apparent reference to the BBC article making similar claims.
Marketplace features Harvard historian Nancy Koehn, who cites the goldfish statistics in her interview. No source is cited, but the numbers Koehn uses match the number on Statistic Brain.