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When Twitter goes bad…

I am a huge fan of Twitter. Back in November, I did a post explaining how Twitter isn’t as bad as people insist it is and that you can use it to your advantage. Now, I have to be honest. Twitter, while it is good, is not perfect. Sometimes, it just causes issues. And last night was a good example of that.

Last night, there was a stabbing Pakuranga. Apparently it was on or near a street there called Queen Street. People started tweeting about a “police incident” in Pakuranga. That was cool. Then people started tweeting about there being a “police presence on Queen Street”. People assumed that to be Queen Street in the Auckland CBD. Not so good. Then word started spreading about a triple fatal shooting, that was then linked to the “police incident” that people thought was in the middle of Central Auckland.

While Twitter is good for getting a large amount of information out to a large number of people, or to receive information you need to know, it also causes issue when a fatal stabbing in Pakuranga turns into a triple homicide with a gunman on the lose in the middle of central Auckland. People get scared, and this causes a panic. If that was actually happening, the last thing the police would need is a panic. Additionally, because these reports were spreading, this could (though I don’t know if it did) lead to the Police seeing reports of a shooting in Central Auckland and going out to investigate that. A waste of Police resources.

I still think Twitter is an amazing resource, however when it goes wrong, it can go badly wrong. This is only one example of many. Like when someone hacked a Fox News twitter account and reporting the assassination of Barack Obama and wishing Joe Biden luck as President. Obviously, this didn’t happen. It did, however, cause hysteria to those who didn’t bother confirming.

(I still love you long time Twitter!)

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