As other news outlets struggled to verify and report breaking developments in the Boston Marathon bombings, one paper managed to cut through the clutter and report the facts before they were even facts. With shoe-leather and sensationalism, the New York Post scooped its competitors and breathlessly reported that 12 had been killed by the blasts, that two unexploded devices had been found, and that a suspect — a Saudi national — had been identified and taken into custody.
Unfortunately, none of these facts happened to be true. The death toll was three, not 12. There were zero unexploded devices, not two. And the “suspect” — a 20-year-old spectator who had been injured by the bombing — was in actuality a “person of interest” who cooperated with investigators and was quickly cleared of any guilt.
Has @Horse_ebooks become self-aware? And has it started self-promoting?
Some background: It is thought that @Horse_ebooks, the funny Twitter robot that chops and screws snippets of text from ebooks and marketing pitches, then regurgitates them into surreal found poetry on Twitter, is entirely automated, and that its aleatory tweets are the happy by-product of a misguided and nonsensical attempt to market ebooks.
The IDF’s official Twitter account @IDFSpokesperson has been especially deft at navigating social media. The size of its online influence dwarfs that of Hamas, whose military wing has similarly used Twitter to posture online. In addition to livetweeting Operation Pillar of Cloud from start to finish, @IDFSpokesperson has deployed hashtags, trending topics, favorites, and other site-specific features to make its case. In one instance, the account piggybacked off the hashtag for the new Call of Duty game, trying to garner support from the teens who are a vital ally to the state of Israel: