There was no shark in Brigantine and certainly no beached seal in Manhattan. The NYSE trading floor did not flood, and the 10 or more Con Edison workers trapped at a damaged plant turned out not to exist. These rumors were briefly and embarrassingly juxtaposed in users’ Twitter timelines with real and often devastating stories about lives and property that had been destroyed, people in need of help, and a city’s infrastructure buckling under the weight of a historic storm.
But more important, perhaps, we already know they’re false.
Twitter’s capacity to spread false information is more than cancelled out by its savage self-correction. In response to thousands of retweets of erroneous Weather Channel and CNN reports that the New York Stock Exchange had been flooded with “three feet” of water, Twitter users, some reporters and many not, were relentless: Photos of the outside of the building, flood-free, were posted. Knowledgeable parties weighed in.
Twitter may end up being the most accurate news source available- especially since the MSM has apparently totally abdicated any responsibility beyond being a left-wing cheerleader and meme-perpetrator. Just be sure to apply the 24- and sometimes 48- hour rule to anything that isn’t immediately verified (and cheer-leading “me too” responses don’t count)- pictures or video or it didn’t happen.
As always, though, YMMV.