Twitter causes ‘gunmen on Oxford Street’ panic
In a regular mini-slot highlighting the hottest, funniest or downright silliest internet trend of the week, Emily Leary looks at the ‘gunmen on Oxford Street’ rumour that send London into a panic on Wednesday.
It all began innocently enough when Candice Bailey, Senior Fashion Assistant at ASOS Magazine, posted on the popular social networking site, Twitter saying:
“Street style shooting in Oxford Street for ASOS and Diet Coke. Let me know if you’re around!!”
Within moments, another Twitter user, Hannah Green, had gasped:
“Gun alert on oxford circus right now. is it true?”
Within minutes, hundred of Twitter users had jumped on the bandwagon, believing they could be in danger, and helping pour oil on the flames with claims such as:
“has been told to stay in the office as there is a shooting in Oxford Circus… the cirens have gone past so is it true…?”
Of course, Ms Bailey’s original tweet was all about fashion photography, but that didn’t stop Twitter grabbing the unfortunate choice of words with both hands (wings?), and within minutes, tweets were spreading like wildfire, with people claiming to have been told by police to stay in their offices, as there had been a shooting in Soho.
It only took around 20 minutes for people to start to question the truth of the rumour, and within 45 minutes, the rumour was entirely quashed when a diligent journalist contacted the Met Police direct only to be told there was no incident at all.
The lesson? Social media like Twitter and Facebook can be great for getting the hottest news first, but it’s always a good idea to check your sources before boarding up the windows and hiding under the table.
Were you on Twitter when the panic started? And were you taken in?
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