Social media spreads information good and bad during Boston manhunt

Social media spreads information good and bad during Boston manhunt
Tech Corner

POSTED: Friday, April 19, 2013 - 11:00pm

UPDATED: Saturday, April 20, 2013 - 1:16pm

Information about the search for the two suspects in the Boston Marathon bombing spread quickly Thursday night, thanks in large part to social media.

People flocked to sites like Twitter and Facebook well into the morning, keeping up on the latest details.

There was even a blog on Reddit posting information from Boston police radios as the manhunt was happening.

Many people used social networks to tell friends and family they were safe.

But social media can be dangerous in times like that, too.

"It's really quick in spreading misinformation," said Kirby Goidel, a professor of political communication at LSU. "Once bad information is out there, it's hard to get rid of it, because it's always going to be re-tweeted; people are going to hold onto it."

Some social media users got in trouble for identifying potential suspects, who in fact had nothing to do with the investigation.

The Boston Police Department also had to ask people not to give away sensitive information about where they were searching and what they were looking for.

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