New York Times social media producer Daniel Victor tells Muck Rack how he verifies crowdsourced breaking news:
In breaking news, I default to the assumption that everything I see is full of crap; only once it’s fully proven to be accurate will I tweet or retweet it out. To get there, I’ll put that info through the verification gantlet. I evaluate the account where I’m finding it (how many tweets and followers, is it verified, does it use proper punctuation and spelling, if I’m seeing an MT did the original tweet really say that, etc.), I check the link (does it lead to a reliable website, does the story say what the tweet says), and I search for context (does the quote/video suspiciously cut out right before or after a controversial statement, has there been any prior fact-checking, is this a first-hand account). If I can poke any holes in it, I’m not tweeting it, and I do my best to needle it like hell.