How fake Nikki Haley report spread on Twitter

The New York Times

Retweets ≠ indictments. Political reporters quickly shared a link last month to a report that South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley might be indicted. The news was bunk. Jeremy W. Peters looks at the chain of retweets and blog posts that followed -- 20 minutes after the initial blog post on Palmetto Public Record, The Washington Post had shared reports of the report, as had The Hill and BuzzFeed. A Drudge link to a Daily Caller story on the report about two-and-a-half hours later helped the fake news leap the fence to The State, the Columbia, S.C., daily.

Ms. Haley had tried in vain to persuade the reporter at The State not to write anything. “I remember getting on the phone, and I usually don’t do this, but I just yelled at her,” the governor said in an interview. “I said, ‘Why are you doing this? There are no facts here.’ ”

A robust discussion of Twitter ethics of followed -- is it a news site? Is it a self-cleaning oven? -- but what I find fascinating about the piece is that it manages to sneak in a little pre-Twitter-style reporting of a rumor in its timeline:

1:22 p.m.: The Romney campaign, which is reported to be considering Ms. Haley as one of many possible vice-presidential choices, receives a request for comment from ABC News.

Related: How false reports of Joe Paterno’s death were spread and debunked | Penn State student publication ‘kills’ former editor who prematurely killed Joe Paterno

  • Andrew Beaujon

    Andrew Beaujon reported on the media for Poynter from 2012 to 2015. He was previously arts editor at TBD.com and managing editor of Washington City Paper. He's the author of the 2006 book "Body Piercing Saved My Life," about Christian rock and evangelical Christian culture.

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