Twitter has become the quickest way to hear a breaking news story; but it cannot be trusted as a legitimate source because of anyone’s ability to tweet information

Even if you don’t have a twitter account, chances are you have heard a report where twitter was the first to break the news. With today’s abundance of smartphones and people’s need for constant communication, many individual’s first instinct is to inform others of everything going on around them.

Twitter, as a source of news, has its pros and cons. As a pro, it allows for almost synchronous news sharing. It is much faster to share information with those in your network than it would be to send a report to a news station, write a teleprompter script, and then for a news anchor’s to break it live on air.
People may have thought it was in poor taste to be tweeting about the Boston Marathon Bombings, for example, but many others see Twitter as simply a newer, and easier way to share news and information.  As The Guardian reported, after the Boston Bombings occurred, a full fifteen minutes went by with dozens of tweets being sent out about the tragedy, but not a single other medium had reported anything. Anyone on twitter who knew people in the area or were concerned about the situation could be kept as up to date as possible, without actually being present at the marathon.
However, there is still a major downfall to Twitter being considered a legitimate news source. Because the only requirement to have an account on Twitter is to have an email, anybody can sign up. To those who are easily fooled, this also means that anybody can be a reporter, whether or not their content is even accurate.
More recently than the Boston Massacre, many people fell victim to a “Twitter Hoax” this past July. An account posted a supposed screenshot (above) of a report from Bloomberg News claiming Twitter had received a $31 billion takeover bid. As compelling as this story is, there wasn’t any truth to it. The hoax fooled twitter users and Wall-Streeters alike, and proved that just because something is posted on Twitter does not mean that it is true.

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