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Confusion during Breaking News Highlights Social Media Issues - NBC29 WVIR Charlottesville, VA News, Sports and Weather

Confusion during Breaking News Highlights Social Media Issues

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Incorrect information tweeted by a major news station was retweeted thousands of times within seconds. Incorrect information tweeted by a major news station was retweeted thousands of times within seconds.

The confusion over a potential suspect in the Boston Marathon bombings immediately went viral.

It's a race among the national media to be the first with information, but it's also a race to be right. NBC29 talked with Marijean Jaggers, who deals with social media issues and crisis communications, who says whether it's the national news media or just you at home: verify information before putting it out there.

Shortly after 1 p.m. Wednesday, CNN tweeted that a suspect in the Boston Marathon bombings had been identified and arrested. The short message was retweeted by thousands of people within a few seconds. In minutes, almost all the national outlets were putting out what they could confirm on twitter.

Social media experts say the competition at the national level is very intense.

"It's almost too easy and we can go too fast and that's part of the problem so in that race to be there first with breaking news and if you are a notable source everybody's going to repeat what you have reported," Jaggers said.

Other media outlets including NBC News disputed the arrest claim, citing other various law enforcement and justice sources.

Wednesday became a war of tweets between the major outlets and the average person not knowing who to believe. It's a real lesson learned for those who use social media on a regular basis.

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