A fake Tweet causes confusion


The "Twitterverse" can be a rowdy place, as it's common for people to set up fake accounts with satire, irony and even homage as their chief purposes.

Many got a good laugh, for example, from the many Tweets by a fake Goldman Sachs employee, offering juicy but fictional tidbits from the office elevators. Now in the aftermath of Sandy, more than a few people confused some fake Tweets about the New York Stock Exchange for real information.

According to Reuters, "the social network also became a fertile ground for pranksters who seized the moment to disseminate rumors and Photoshopped images, including a false tweet Monday night that the trading floor at the New York Stock Exchange was submerged under several feet of water. The exchange issued a denial, but not before the tweet was circulated by countless users and reported on-air by CNN, illustrating how Twitter had become the essential --- but deeply fallible --- spine of information coursing through real-time, major media events."

You really have to take some Tweets with a grain of salt, especially if you are not rock-solid sure about the provenance. All that said, you have to agree that the benefits of Twitter communications outweighs the harms.

"Beginning late Sunday, government agencies and officials, from New York Governor Andrew Cuomo(@NYGovCuomo) to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (@FEMA) to @NotifyNYC, an account handled by New York City's emergency management officials, issued evacuation orders and updates. As the storm battered New York Monday night, residents encountering clogged 9-1-1 dispatch lines flooded the Fire Department's @fdny Twitter account with appeals for information and help for trapped relatives and friends. One elderly resident needed rescue in a building in Manhattan Beach. Another user sent @fdny an Instagram photo of four insulin shots that she needed refrigerated immediately. Yet another sought a portable generator for a friend on a ventilator living downtown."

Pranks aside, thank goodness for Twitter.

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