After its account was apparently hacked, the Associated Press’ Twitter account, often a source of breaking news, was used to send news that the White House had been attacked and the president injured. Neither was true.
The message, quickly followed up by the account’s suspension and clarifying Tweets from other AP-maintained accounts, came on the heels of a week where disinformation quickly spread from the public to social media to traditional media and back to the public, with some misleading information even managing to land on the front page of major papers.
On Tuesday morning, tech writer Mat Honan called for Twitter to add verification tools so that rumors and lies were more quickly spotted — and removed — after he had found himself tweeting out information incorrectly identifying a man suspected of being the Boston Marathon bomber.
“Twitter shouldn’t have to make sure everything crossing its servers is factual or true, but it is in Twitter’s interest to themselves to give us the tools to clean things up,” Honan wrote. “Otherwise it risks becoming a cesspool of untruths and rumors. Twitter needs a way to reel bad information back in. It needs a way to let us flag things that we’ve said that turn out to be wrong. Twitter needs an edit button, a correction process.”