When covering Boston suspects, watch for fake social media accounts

As journalists cover the news unfolding in Boston, they've been searching for answers about the suspects. Some have reported information about the suspects' apparent social media accounts in hopes of finding out more about them and their motives.

The reports are a reminder to be careful when reporting on social media profiles and to not read too deeply into them.

Some journalists and news outlets have been tweeting about one of the suspect's accounts on VKontake -- a Russian-language social media site.


Other journalists have offered words of caution, noting that there's at least one fake Twitter account for one of the suspects:


In the past year or so, there have been fake Twitter accounts for Cokie Roberts, the former New York Times ombudsman, and former North Carolina governor Bev PerdueHere are some tips on verifying information on and about social media.

Related: What it's been like to cover the Boston manhunt | How journalists are covering the news unfolding in Boston

  • Mallary Jean Tenore

    As managing editor of The Poynter Institute’s website, Poynter.org, I report on the media news industry, edit the site’s How To section, and moderate the site's live chats. I also help handle the site's social media efforts, and teach social media sessions on the side.


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