One of my biggest pet peeves about the instantaneousness of social media is the lack of accuracy. News outlets are more interested in being the first to break the story than to be accurately reporting the information. As a greater audience, the majority of people are more tolerant of speed over accuracy, simply accepting that details of stories change with each moment. But isn’t reliability and accuracy what makes a news outlet trustworthy?
I, personally, find it exhausting to read a report on Twitter, and then have to seek out verification on another, more accurate site. However, I am used to hearing multiple reports, full of “witness accounts” and hearsay and accepting it as fact.. .until they tell me otherwise. I believe when news organizations are live tweeting events and happenings, the ethical thing to do is to delete the inaccurate information previously posted. By deleting the posts, they aren’t necessarily trying to cover their tracks, but more so trying to eliminate confusion to readers who are late to the conversation and latest updates.
Even citizen journalists should take caution in reporting, or re-reporting information. Perhaps by making sure people know that the information is not official, or is hearsay, or is still developing. I don’t have a personal example to relate to the issue of accuracy, but it does remind me of a current event. George Zimmerman filed suit (part of which was recently dismissed) against NBC for reporting a modified 911 call and other information during his trial involving the Trayvon Martin that portrayed him as racist. Though this was a very polarizing case, the accuracy (and inaccuracy) of the reporting during the trial was a huge contribution to increased publicity and tension.
Have you ever retweeted or posted inaccurate information? Did you later delete it or post a retraction?
Do you accept inaccuracies with a grain of salt, or do you think there should be greater regulation on sensationalism in journalism?