Yesterday morning, a disturbing Tweet in ALL CAPS from @BreakingNewsOn caught my eye. It read something amongst the lines of: "EXPLOSION IN DOWNTOWN MANHATTAN". Since I live in Manhattan, this Tweet was particularly relevant to me so I did the first thing any Internet savvy person would do. I Googled. But there was recent no news pertaining to "explosion + Manhattan". I went back to Twitter to double check the Tweet.
It was gone. (But you can see it archived in Twitter search here)
The Tweet, Later Retracted, Via Twitter Search
I looked through their timeline to see if a retraction was published but didn't see anything - it was as if the Tweet didn't happen. Granted, BreakingNewsOn is not a major news network, but as a benchmark:@BreakingNewsOn has 18,643 followers 152 Tweeter more than CNN. 18,643 people may not seem like a lot of followers, but calculated exponentially - they reach a lot of people. And for a news source that isn't a major name, they're doing pretty well in Twitter-land, wouldn't you say?
Given how they call themselves the "most credible Twitter news source." on their bio, I decided to give them a few minutes to publish a retraction, a notice they got hacked - something, anything about the false news report.
An hour went by - nothing.
So I did the next best thing -- Tweeted my concern and brought the discussion to FriendFeed and @BreakingNewsOn immediately responded via DM (direct message)
Do you trust your Twitter news sources?
Read more by Mona Nomura at Pixel Bits