BBC Learn the Hard Way About Using Twitter as A News Source

/ 3 years ago


The BBC learns the hard way to be careful about using Twitter as a news source

The internet is a minefield of garbage. Often opinions can be portrayed as fact and even then the facts can be contradictory. It does, therefore mean that I write this with a little sympathy, but not too much, as the BBC has found to their expense the perils of sourcing Twitter for news.

Unless you have been living in a cave, like President Mugabe’s wife possibly currently is, you can’t help but have noticed the current political situation in Zimbabwe. The military coup that definitely 100%, is not a coup. At least, that’s according to the military.

With this, news outlets around the world have been desperately seeking news as to what exactly is happening. In fairness, it can sometimes be tricky, for example, a recent fake news story was spread around regarding potential early door development of GTA 6.

A recent blunder by the BBC as reported via the Guardian, does, however, show the perils of chasing the story.

bbc fake news

The parody Twitter account the BBC used as a source.

You can source Twitter, but doing some digging is useful!

In the news story, the BBC referenced a Twitter account called ‘Zanu PF’. This group claimed to represent the new government in Zimbabwe and had been making several posts since the (definitely not a) coup.

Now, where did the BBC go wrong? Well, for a start, this was not a verified Twitter account. Admittedly, Twitter does have some specifications regarding verification, but even so. Secondly, it would appear that the account has existed for 6 years and throughout the time has regularly declared itself as the legitimate government.

The bottom line is that the Zanu PF is a 100% parody/joke account. Despite this, the BBC bought into it hook line and sinker.

Now, while we here at eTeknix are not impervious to (rarely) getting the wrong end of the stick. I also appreciate that people who live in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones. At the same time, we do not have the resources of the BBC (yet) and in addition, we never take anything at face value. We’re a bunch of cynics, well, some of us are.

What do you think? Is this funny, shocking, disappointing or a combination? – Let us know in the comments!

BBC Learn the Hard Way About Using Twitter as A News Source 1

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