20 Minutes: Life of a Twitter Rumor
Just after noon today, false rumors that CNN had suspended Pierce Morgan originated from a fake account meant to parody Dan Wootton, former show biz editor for News of the World. The false tweet went out at 12:14 EST. @jonsnowC4 accidentally legitimized it, and it spread from there. The rumor lasted until 12:34 when @piersmorgan squashed it himself.
@jonsnowc4, an anchor for Channel 4 News in London, confuses his t's with a "d", misses @danwooden's very fake bio, and spreads the rumor. You can see a screen grab of his original tweet below. Note that he doesn't cite his source, so no one who sees his tweet knows that not only is he going off of a second hand source, but also a totally fake source.
- @archiebland, Foreign Editor at The Independent picks up the rumor trail and immediately notices that it originated from a fake account
- But at this point, it's too late...
My colleague Anthony De Rosa is just too far removed from the original fake tweet to know it's not true.
- @brianstelter starts putting the brakes on.
- @adrianchen from Gawker starts investigating where the fake account came from.
- And finally the man himself refutes the rumor.
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