Other times, there is too much information out there that people do not know which information to take and which to discard. An example of this would be the case of Wikileaks, where a vast amount of governmental information that was considered private, was leaked for the public. (Wikileaks, 2010) People and media were exposed to this vast amount in a short time and they had no idea how to process it. In order to evaluate such raw data and information, people need to be more media literate.
However, as the speed and spread of internet increased, so did the consumption of news by the public. Social media became another tool to dispense and consume this valuable information to and by the general population. Hence, the regulation of the information that was being made public and that was accessible to a large group of people became weak. As citizens became journalists, the practice of verifying each and every fact that goes online, lost its importance. Twitter, Facebook, Reddit and blogs became sources of information, not only for the public but also for the mainstream media. Mainstream media and social media can often be seen interacting with each other to dispel all this information around the world in real time.
This raises the question, how much do we trust the birds to bring us the right information?
On 15 April 2013, two bombs went off, just as the Boston Marathon was winding down. Immediately reports about the bomb started appearing on social media sites like Twitter and Facebook. What followed was media frenzy as social media and mainstream media fed news off each other. News about suspects and their arrests spread as soon as it broke on social media site Reddit and was soon picked up by Mainstream media like CNN and The New York Post but turned about to be rumours and false information.
Thus in the event of a crisis, when news, rumours and false information was flowing incessantly and rapidly, it was hard to sift through it and decide what speculation was and what hard facts were.
After bombings, social media informs (and misinforms)
Social Media Vigilantes Cloud Boston Bombing Investigation
This is an analysis of social media and its effect on the coverage of the Boston bombing. This analysis shows how the wrong rumours actually affected the lives of others. NPR does a good job in giving a sample example of how the news information affected the investigations and sheds light on how this has affected the lives of innocent people.
WATCH: Jon Stewart slams CNN's Boston bombing coverage
This is a video of Jon Stewart‟s criticism of CNN for Boston bombing coverage. He uses a satirical approach to inform the people of the negative outcomes the information had on the citizens and
investigation procedures. The humour type of form that he uses is a good eye catching element that attracts the people to watch the show and be informed of the news updates where awareness on a
certain issue is raised in a fun and humorous form.
Boston 'witch hunt' on social media sites – and a bad week for the old guard
This is the Guardian‟s analysis of the coverage of Boston bombing one week after the event. The Guardian does a good job in shedding light on the negative consequences that affected people‟s life and gives a live example of how the info on Reddit has fuelled a “witch hunt” trying to discover the suspects and how this has affected the lives of innocent citizens where their safety was endangered.
This article discusses how social media affects the Market and the economy. This accurately covers the effects on the market and drop in stock prices. It does not mention the hoax itself but the negative impact of the hoax and correctly presents the issue as is.
AP Hack Illustrates Real Consequences of Poor Social Media Security
This shows how insecure and vulnerable is the social media. This blog article does a great job in first discussing the issue in brief about the hoax and then presenting the negative consequences that it had on the US market. It goes further to also use this as an example to other brands and how false information on social media can have fatal results.
SEC, FBI probe fake tweet that rocked stocks
This article shows how social media can be used for a negative effect. It presents the negative consequences in a cohesive manner form. However, it has mentioned that the Syrian Electronic army were behind the hoax and failed to mention the proof they had or the source of information to attain better credibility.