Social Media

Ellen's viral selfie leads to $3 million donation

It was the selfie heard 'round the world, and now it's paying dividends.

When Oscars host Ellen DeGeneres pushed "Tweet" on a photo sporting 12 of Hollywood's biggest stars (11.5 if you're counting full faces – sorry, Jared Leto), she intended to break Twitter's all-time retweet record. Little did DeGeneres know, it would also lead to charity giving.

Tech giant Samsung, the maker of the smartphone used by DeGeneres, tells CNBC that in honor of the viral star-studded selfie – which now has a record 3 million retweets – it is donating $3 million to Ellen's charities of choice: St. Jude's and the Humane Society.

Ellen's tweet

"While we were a sponsor of the Oscars and had an integration with ABC, we were delighted to see Ellen organically incorporate the device into the selfie moment that had everyone talking," a Samsung spokeswoman wrote in an email. "A great surprise for everyone, she captured something that nobody expected."

The previous record for most retweets on a single tweet was set by @BarackObama on election night in 2012. President Obama's post hit about 810,000 retweets at its peak.

By CNBC's Eli Langer. Follow him on Twitter at @EliLanger.