Monday 2 May 2011

How Twitter broke news that Bin Laden was dead

Michael Calderone on the Huffington Post has written about the role Twitter played in revealing that Osama Bin Laden was dead.

Calderone writes: "White House Communications Director Dan Pfeiffer notified the world via Twitter that Obama would be making a major announcement, but provided no details of what was to come.

"And it was over Twitter that the story exploded -- from word of a mysterious presidential announcement to early guesses to informed speculation and, eventually, to unconfirmed reports that bin Laden had been killed.

"Keith Urbahn, former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld's chief of staff, scooped the national press by tweeting around 10:25 p.m. that he’d been “told by a reputable person they have killed Osama Bin Laden.”

"Whether from non-journalists like Urbahn or mainstream reporters soon after, many people first learned of the U.S. firefight that killed the terrorist leader over social media sites like Twitter and Facebook and text-messaging. (Amazingly, IT consultant Sohaib Athar, who unknowingly lived near the bin Laden compound in Pakistan, actually live-tweeted the U.S. special forces attack on the al Qaeda leader without realizing what he had witnessed."

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