Hackings, bad information part of social media' growth - WBRC FOX6 News - Birmingham, AL

Hackings, bad information part of social media' growth

BIRMINGHAM, AL (WBRC) -

It can be a blessing and a curse. Social media can disseminate info with lightning speed but the same is true for wrong information.

Tuesday afternoon nearly 2 million Twitter feeds saw a breaking news tweet from the Associated Press saying there had been explosions at the White House and the President was injured. Not a word of it was true.

"I sympathize with them a little bit because we're all human beings behind these accounts. To be able to be protected at all time, to be perfect all the time is asking a lot of anyone," Wade Kwon said.

Kwon is a communications consultant and the director of Y'all Connect. Kwon says he wasn't surprised by the alleged hacking and bad information. Why? Because we have seen it before.

"I don't know with social media if it's the real thing or something that someone made up," Twitter user, Lindsey Rae, said.

Some users like Rae say after the bogus AP tweet they treat social media info with a good dose of skepticism.

"People really have to filter out and make judgment calls as to is this person really know what they are talking about," Kwon said.

As social media continues to grow so does the misinformation. Take a picture that made the rounds on Instagram and Twitter as a case in point. The picture shows a little girl running in a race and claimed she was the youngest victim of the Boston Marathon Bombings. It turns out the picture was from a different race.

For University of Alabama student Angela Thompson, knowing what to trust on social media is simple: not much of anything.

"I'll go check some other sources. Ask people to see. I can't just go right off of twitter. It's a social media site," Thompson said.

Stocks took a steep dip when the tweet first went out but recovered when the AP announced it had been hacked.

The group Syrian Electronic Army claimed responsibility for the false message. They are also behind previous hacks of the BBC and CBS News.

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