Police Scanners in Boston Featured on Twitter With No Context


In the hunt for two terrorists in Boston that ended Friday, news organizations were scolded for irresponsible reporting and employed to relay information to the public, sometimes at the same news conference, says the New York Times. On Friday, the authorities thanked news media outlets for spreading the word that Bostonians should take shelter, and cautioned them against repeating secondhand or thinly sourced information.

The tension of the day played out on Twitter, where seemingly every utterance from police scanners was repeated, often without any context. Twitter users urged one another not to share what they were hearing on the scanners, and audio feeds on at least two scanner Web sites were taken offline temporarily. On Friday night, as word spread that the second suspect had been spotted, more than 250,000 people were simultaneously tuned to a Ustream rebroadcast of a scanner.

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