Monday, August 5, 2019

Bad info out of El Paso

There was a shooting in El Paso on Saturday.  Reporter Mike Ikahihifo, who has a verified checkmark on Twitter, at one point tweeted out:
UPDATE: El Paso police says this was gang related terroism. KFOX14 reports.
He later deleted the tweet, but you can see the archive here:

http://archive.is/Ytn7p

It doesn't seem like the shooting was gang-related at all.  The suspect was identified as 21-year-old Patrick Crusius, and he posted a damn manifesto online.  I don't know how many times Ikahihifo's tweet was shared.  I saw it in my timeline after Tim Pool retweeted it.  (And I believe Tim Pool later un-retweeted it.)

Doesn't it seem like a problem when reporters are accidentally sharing misinformation about a shooting?  I don't mean that the misinformation itself is a problem.  (There will ALWAYS be misinformation during a chaotic situation.)  Rather, the problem is that people can latch onto the words of a checkmarked reporter and spread that misinformation around.  It gives people a free pass to spread faulty information.

Does that make sense?  What I'm trying to say is there's a loophole.  You could share misinformation from a trusted source without being accused yourself of spreading misinformation.  It would give you an out.     

Here's another tweet from Drunken Peasant Memsᵀᴹ, claiming the shooter was somebody named Scotty Mendez:

http://archive.is/Xuf2U

I think this was deliberate misinformation--a troll, as they say.  But Drunken Peasant Memsᵀᴹ isn't a recognized reporter with a verified Twitter checkmark, so it's not the same style of misinformation.  Nobody is gonna take Drunken Peasant Memsᵀᴹ's tweet at face value and then amplify it in the same way they might amplify Ikahihifo's tweet.

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