Tag Archives: Associated Press

The Twitter effect

25 Apr
Image representing Twitter as depicted in Crun...

Image via CrunchBase

A tweet came out this past Tuesday from the AP‘s Twitter account.  This tweet, which was released shortly after 1 p.m., stated that two bombs had gone off in the White House, injuring President Barack Obama.  The financial world reacted in a major way, causing the Dow Jones industrial average to drop by 130 points.

Within ten minutes, the AP tweeted that the previous tweet had been a hack and later in the day the Dow Jones returned to its previous number, but this incident proves an important lesson.  The average news consumer is getting much of their information from social media.  This is a great thing because news is able to spread quickly and efficiently to a huge audience.  It does, however, have its drawbacks as is evident in this situation.  People will believe anything as long as it is in writing.  Not only will they believe it but they will react.  One single false tweet causing enough damage to impact the financial measurement of the country is not good.  Hackers will continue to send out false information, but if the country takes this news on face value situations could become hysteria.

Citizens need to learn the importance of questioning everything.  One tweet does not explain the entire story.  Once social media users understand the importance of accuracy and of double-checking all information, we will have an informed public and social media will be successful.