Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Twitter Quake

A local radio broadcast, "Caltech earthquake rumor shakes Twittersphere," shows how a rumor that "Caltech was sending employees and students home because seismologists were predicting a major earthquake was about to hit the Southland" could by magnified by dissemination on the popular social network site Facebook. Commentators pointed out that there were two significant factors to the story: 1) the fact that many local Twitter and Facebook users weren't exposed to the story might expose the weaknesses of these distributed platforms as a means for risk communication and 2) the fact that Internet fact-checking practices are as central to user behavior as uncritical message forwarding might indicate that the Internet may be as important for checking rumor as for spreading it.

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