Is social media as reliable as the mainstream media for news? It’s hard to say if news on social media can be trusted, but it is surely an effective complement to mainstream media.
It was a software consultant who first tweeted about the events leading up to Osama Bin Ladin’s capture and death. Sohaib Athar (@ReallyVirtual) tweeted that “extraordinary choppers” were in his area of Pakistan. He didn’t know at the time that it was a U.S. operation to capture Bin Ladin. Because of his tweets, several mainstream media outlets followed up on the story and found that Osama had been captured and was dead. Before long, the entire internet was abuzz with the Osama news gone viral.
Similarly, is the story of Neda Soltan, an Iranian woman shot in broad daylight during one of the Iranian protests. A video of the travesty surfaced on the Internet, later spreading like wildfire via social media.