As Hurricane Sandy made landfall in the US, there was a significant amount of misinformation spread over social media about the storm’s impact. Anticipating the potential for misinformation during a destructive and far-reaching news event, as well its impact to those in imminent danger, the Guardian US’s Social News Editor Katie Rogers launched a hashtag, “#FakeSandy," and issued a call-out to readers over Twitter to help identify inaccurate, outdated or doctored images and video which purport to show the effects of Hurricane Sandy. Rogers developed a useful guide to help readers identify fake photos and videos and how to make sure they’re not helping to propagate misinformation. Readers were encouraged to use the hashtag, along with a photo link to @GuardianUS, or by leaving links in the comments section. Submissions were collected and moderated using Storify and featured in the post, “Fake Hurricane Sandy Photos: Help Us Identify #FakeSandy Pictures." As Hurricane Sandy made landfall in the US, there was a significant amount of misinformation spread over social media about the storm’s impact. The storm was a highly anticipated event that had people scrambling for news before the inevitable outages struck. With many relying on on social media and relevant hashtags to follow what was happening on the ground and in real time, doctored images and photos of the storm’s impact were uploaded to Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, and shared virally. It is an act that may seem harmless at face value, but sharing misleading photos can misinform people who are already vulnerable to danger. With social media’s growing influence on traditional news reporting, misinformation beget misinformation and led to a significant amount of uncertainty about what was happening on the ground in New York City. As Hurricane Sandy made landfall in New York City on October 29, 2012, the Guardian’s Social News Editor, Katie Rogers, recognized this potentially harmful trend and launched the “#FakeSandy" hashtag and issued a call-out to readers over Twitter to help identify inaccurate, outdated or doctored images and video which purport to show the effects of Hurricane Sandy. She searched for and curated images into Storify and shared those results with Guardian readers the social community at large. Rogers quick thinking and nimble approach to social news reporting exemplifies both a creative and effective use of a hashtag and a model example of how to use social media for news. Given the amount of information circulating during the storm, Rogers reacted quickly with an identifiably novel approach to social news to help break through the clutter of potentially harmful misinformation. She helped facilitate and enforce accurate reporting of a major news event that was modeled by other news organizations, including The Atlantic, BuzzFeed, Forbes and SNOPES and cited by CNN's Howard Kurtz. The result was both a public service and a model example of how the Guardian’s US newsroom is innovating in the area of social news reporting.
Example 1: https://twitter.com/rosamundi/status/263052234684788736 Example 2: http://topsy.com/storify.com/katierogers/help-us-document-fakesandy-photos
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