Thursday, December 04, 2008

Delhi: Twitter Report of Six Gunmen Being Shot Dead turns into 'Security Scare at Delhi's Airport'

At the start of my New Media Tools for Journalism class at BU today, I brought up twitter search, because I heard about a shooting in Delhi.

The first tweet I saw was from Andy Carvin:

Reports are saying that six gunmen were shot at Delhi's airport. Any reports of civilian casualties? Haven't seen anything on the wires yet.

Anyone on Twitter at Delhi's airport right now? Sounds like there was just an attack there.

Then I went to twitter search for Delhi to find the first actual tweet about it.

Six gunmen have been shot dead by Indian security forces at Delhi's main international airport, airport offici..


That account has an image of BBC NEWS but the link goes to

Following that link you find that this account is owned by Mario Menti and posts BBC NEWS ALERTS.

Here's an explanation:
Due to popular demand, I have added a twitter bot that will only post the BBC breaking news alerts, not the regular news items. This is going to be useful for people who don’t want to put up with the relatively frequent posts from the BBC news feeds.

That tweet lead to a flurry of re-tweets. Some with attribution, some without.

As we watched the stream of tweets, the news changed.

The initial news story linked to in the first tweet, now reads like this:

Update 12/8/08:

Peter Horrocks writes at BBC News, The Editors blog: Mistaken report: Delhi airport:
I'd like to explain about a mistaken report which BBC News carried yesterday. Around 1915 GMT yesterday there was a security alert at Delhi airport sparked by reports of gunshots, which the BBC News channel in the UK reported at 2010 GMT.
A BBC News correspondent who was travelling through the airport was involved in the security alert and reported on air that airport staff had told him that six gunmen had been killed. Versions of this initial report were subsequently carried by the BBC World News TV channel and by BBC News online.

Following urgent checks by BBC News teams and denials by the Indian authorities we subsequently and rapidly reported that six gunmen had not been killed. The security alert had apparently been sparked by a false alarm. We made clear in the online story that our earlier report had been wrong and this remained in the story subsequently.
Glad we heard from The BBC on this.

1 comment:

  1. ever thought of a cover up? Possible they are playing it down to avoid panic. Esp before Dec 6...a high alert date