How to Verify News Accounts Posted On Social Media

By: Jeff Sonderman | Poynter

A July 4 fireworks show in downtown Philadelphia was marred by a shooting that sent crowds scattering, according to hundreds of tweets sent that night. But when reporters at the Philadelphia Daily News followed up with police, wrote staffer Daniel Victor, they were told there had been no such shooting.

News organizations are learning that they can use social media to get the first, and firsthand, accounts of breaking news. But they face the challenge of verifying that information and deciding whether to publish those accounts.

The reports of the shooting, Victor wrote, “raised a difficult question totally new to the Twitter era: What do you do when the official account of an event is at odds with dozens, or even hundreds, of people reporting the opposite?”

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