Twitter Corrections

Social Media Sign

How journalists can do a better job of correcting errors on social media

Earlier this month I was in London to participate in the news:rewired journalism conference put on by My panel was about rumors, verification and corrections, and I was there to help provide some suggestions for handling corrections in the networked world.

The three other speakers on the panel each tackled different aspects of verification. I encourage you to look over their presentations, which are now now all online. It was probably the best panel about this topic I’ve ever been on, partly because of the amount of useful information that was shared, and because of the knowledge of the people doing the talking.

I’ll give you a rundown of what I presented, but first, here’s a quick look at the other speakers:

  • Mark Little of social media news service Storyful, spoke about verifying masses of social media content on behalf of other news organizations, but he actually advocated for using the word “validation” rather than the other v-word.
Read more

Visualized: Incorrect information travels farther, faster on Twitter than corrections

Many times on Twitter I’ve witnessed what I call The Law of Incorrect Tweets:

Initial, inaccurate information will be retweeted more than any subsequent correction.

The goal should be to make the correction as viral as the mistake. But that’s a challenge, and Tuesday at Harvard’s Truthiness in Digital Media conference, I saw (for the first time) what it looks like when we fail.

The presentation by Gilad Lotan, the vice president of research and development for SocialFlow, included a chart that compared the Twitter traffic of an incorrect report to the traffic for the ensuing correction. It’s the Law of Incorrect Tweets visualized:

The data for that chart comes from one of three case studies he shared in this blog post. It focused on an incorrect tweet by NBC New York in November that said the NYPD had ordered its helicopter to move away from the site of the Occupy Wall Street protests:

Read more