There’s been a lot of shamefacedness and embarrassment on Twitter from people who tweeted the false news that Piers Morgan had been suspended from CNN. I can see why: a lot of the tweeters were professional journalists, foremost among them Channel 4 News’s Jon Snow. And professional journalists hate to report something that’s wrong.
That said, one of the things I like about Twitter is that it behaves in many ways a lot more like a newsroom than a newspaper. Rumors happen there, and then they get shot down — no harm no foul.
I think that big flagship Twitter accounts like @Reuters or @WSJ should be held to a higher standard. But for the rest of us, we’re conversing on Twitter just like we converse in real life. In the newsroom, we say things like “did you hear that Piers Morgan just got suspended?” and that’s fine. Is it really that bad to say that kind of thing in the new newsroom called Twitter? I don’t think so. People are human, they believe rumors, make mistakes, jump to conclusions. Twitter is just a healthy reminder of that fact.