Hurricane Sandy's lies prepared us for possible fake information coming out of Twitter tonight and we got our first taste with a quick rumor about the supposed election of Senator Elizabeth Warren in Massachusetts. This was pretty harmless because it ended up coming true, with NBC (and others) calling it for her a little before 9:40. But, about half an hour before that, Twitter told us it already happened, starting with (we think) the following tweet from The Huffington Post's Laura Bassett.
NBC just called a win for Elizabeth Warren.— Laura Bassett (@LEBassett) November 7, 2012
Daily Intel kind of freaked out, too at that exact same minute at 9:03 p.m..
The Atlantic Wire also posted about the confusion and Twitter took it from there. It didn't feel wrong because elections are being called left and right tonight. But it wasn't true, at least at that moment.
But, as Twitter does, it fact-checked itself right up—a much easier feat when dealing with information found on many major news sites, compared to happenings in the real world during an emergency situation, as we saw with Sandy. Our live blog has a correction posted by 9:15 p.m.. Daily Intel had a correction tweet posted at 9:27. MSNBC's Chris Hayes clarified that NBC had not (yet) called it.
I have not seen confirmation anywhere of the AP Baldwin call and know for a fact NBC has not called MA for Warren.— Christopher Hayes (@chrislhayes) November 7, 2012
Of course, about 10 minutes later, NBC (et. al) called it for Warren and these various news sites could do their respective crying and cheering.
Considering the velocity of tweets going through the Twitters tonight, it only took Twitter a few hours to give us a bona-fide Twitter lie. But just as heartening, it's supposed fact-checking mechanism kicked in, too. Maybe that's because of the type of information it's giving us. Or maybe following Sandy we're just more wary of everything that comes cross our Tweetdecks. In either case: Faith in Twitter restored. At least for now.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.
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