Here’s a little insight into how
easy it is difficult it is to subvert international news organisations.
Somebody created a twitter account that looked very much like an official Sky News account. It had the Sky News logo as a picture. (I’m not linking to it.) Then they tweeted that Margaret Thatcher had died.
Cue big excitement behind the scenes of news organisations.
It’s a prime example of how much more important it is to be right than to be first. (Sky News has had ascribed to it the motto “Never wrong for long” i.e. might not be dead now, but will be sometime. Or wrong news now, but we can correct it and then it’ll be fine. To be clear though, Sky wasn’t the culprit in this case. The twitter account was fake.)
Was the incorrect news of Margaret Thatcher’s death broadcast on the BBC?
It did get into the internal system though. But thanks to
luck the BBC’s high calibre staff and rigorous checking it never made it on air.
Other news organisations were not so
lucky rigorous, were fooled by the fake Twitter account and evidently did not bother verifying the story with other sources.
News organisations like Swedish newspaper Skövde Nyhete and Sean Hannity (no Sean, Sky wasn’t hacked, you just didn’t check). ABC reporters too. Other Twitter users, some famous, also retweeted the fake news – only to retract it later.
Social networks are all the rage these days. News spreads fast. It circumvents official channels. It makes a mockery of Iranian government efforts to suppress news of the recent earthquake. The Arab Spring benefited from it. Rioters in England used it to mobilise mobs this time a year ago. It’s an alternative to the mainstream “lamestream” managed flow of information through the traditional news organisations.
And yet, sometimes the news according to Twitter/Facebook/Whatever is a load of old rubbish. The sort of unsourced, unattributed nonsense one might slam a tabloid newspaper for indulging in.
So perhaps there’s still a role for old hacks for a while yet? Those that haven’t been arrested by the Met Police, that is. (Hey… I didn’t say the old school was all good.) And it’s not as though the mainstream media has seen through every hoax that has come its way. Weapons of mass destruction in Iraq? The Hitler Diaries?
Anyway, here’s a rumour for you. Apparently if you scroll down the right hand side of the screen, you’ll find the rest of the Loose Bloggers Consortium who are far more on fire then I am. At least that’s what’s I’ve heard. Though you can’t believe all you read.
On the subject of Margaret Thatcher’s demise, whenever it does comes, here’s a wee song… (Warning: The singer swears in his introduction to the song.)
By the way, I’ve been rubbish commenting on other people’s blogs recently. Sorry. (Though I have been reading the many updates that come to my email inbox.) I’ll be much better very soon. Apologies again.
Meanwhile – also not dead despite the rumours – Nelson Mandela. Jon Bon Jovi and Lady Gaga. And if you do want to keep track of the Iron Lady’s longevity, stay tuned… or click here.