Don’t believe anything you read on Twitter

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Wow. I thought just watching the bombing unfold on Twitter on Monday was unreal, but watching the breaking news today really took it to the next level. From “a suspect has been arrested” to “a suspect was arrested at a hotel and is en route to the Boston federal courthouse,” tweeted by the Boston Globe to a photo taken from a helicopter of the courthouse with press and media gathering outside to reports that no suspect has actually been arrestd (Boston PD took to Twitter to clarify) to reports that the Boston courthouse is being evacuated because of “utter mayhem,” outside (still developing) Twitter has been confusing, anxiety-inducing and full of misinformation today.

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Some days I honestly think to myself: What would I do without Twitter? I heavily depend on it for news, especially breaking news, and it has been my main source of information since the Boston Marathon bombings on Monday. I found a new level of regard for today’s journalists, who are able to react to breaking news and put together research/articles/photo galleries/informational graphs/etc. at a seemingly unprecedented speed (and using Twitter to do so). But today I literally watched Twitter implode on itself, with reputable news organizations breaking news they shouldn’t have broken and conflicting reports spreading like wildfire. The FBI even released the following condemnation of the media:

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Oh, and the Society of Professional Journalists tweeted out a link to and specific lines from the SPJ code of ethics: “Journalists should … Encourage the public to voice grievances against the news media.” and “”Test the accuracy of information from all sources and exercise care to avoid inadvertent error.”

What to make all of this? Not sure yet, but it’s sure to be a MAJOR topic of discussion over the next few days. In the meantime, read what’s already been written about it.

Question Everything You Hear About the Boston Marathon Bombing

Should Twitter care about all the misinformation in its product?

Check out this Storify of a timeline of the conflicting reports on the bombing suspect.

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