Yesterday, the Guardian posted an amazing (seriously, I’m not exaggerating like usual) tool exploring the use of social media during the riots experienced in England this past summer.
The authors took seven rumors that circulated on Twitter during the riots and tracked their spread. They identified the first person who posted the rumor, which influential Twitter users passed the information along and showed the explosion of messages that perpetuated after those super-users posted on what were ultimately untrue rumors (and one true rumor). Some of them were easily debunked and short-lived (a tiger loose in Primrose Hill?), others that sort of simmered along for a few days (a police beating) and some that exploded into hundreds of tweets per hour over days.
This is an amazing undertaking, with lots of interesting data and swooshy-things. Truly a must read/view.