LA Times Twitter Blooper Declares Prop 8 Overturned

By Olsen Ebright
|  Friday, May 15, 2009  |  Updated 6:46 PM EDT
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Just because it's being tweeted, doesn't mean it's true.

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What happens when bad information hits the Twittersphere?

It becomes bad information moving at the speed of tweet. Thousands of Twitterers armed with "RT" and some @ symbols can move bad information before anyone really has a chance to fact check, and on Friday that's what happened.

An outdated story from the Los Angeles Times declaring Proposition 8 overturned was tweeted and then retweeted and then retweeted some more.

The Times article in question was originally published on May 16, 2008. Yet, Proposition 8 -- the ballot measure that banned same-sex marriage in California -- wasn't passed until November 2008.

You can see the problem here.

"This incident highlights a downside of Twitter. While it's great at disseminating information quickly, it's just as good at disseminating false information quickly. And if a lot of people are saying it -- as thousands are here -- it must be true, right? Wrong," says MG Siegler on TechCrunch.

Siegler notes that the LA Times started the whole mess by tweeting a link to the story earlier in the day. It has since been retracted via the newspaper's Twitter account:

FTR note: Earlier [removed] tweet linked to a May 16, 2008 Prop 8 story + does not reflect any new news. Original story http://bit.ly/hhwEg

The whole mess is giving us flashbacks to a Google News incident that a certain airline would like to forget.

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