Chinese whispers on Twitter sparks panic in London

The story of a shooting at Oxford Circus entered the echo chamber of Twitter early this morning, although it wasn’t quite as serious as the website’s users would have you believe.

The story of a shooting at Oxford Circus entered the echo chamber of Twitter early this morning, although it wasn’t quite as serious as the website’s users would have you believe.

At 11:17am @candicecbailey tweeted: “Street style shooting in Oxford Circus for ASOS and Diet Coke. Let me know if you’re around!!”.

Within minutes Twitter users were sharing concerns that a gunman was loose on the streets of Oxford Circus, and some offices even told staff to remain indoors for safety. By 11:28, one Twitter user tweeted: “Shooting in progress in Oxford Circus, stay safe people.”

This continued until someone took it upon themselves to actually check the facts by visiting the supposed location of the gunman.

Twitter’s users seem to have got a promotional photo shoot confused with a story of a gunman in the capital, providing a warning to the nature of knee-jerk reactions on the service.

Exquisite Tweets has compiled a great example of the Chinese whispers nature of the service, listing a host of messages sent by panicked Londoners.

Now might be a good time to remind people that you can’t believe everything you read on the internet.

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“Before we all sink into a slough of digital dystopian despair, it might be worth considering this: is this a sign of the strength, not weakness, of revelatory journalism in the digital age?”


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(Source: POLIS)

 

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