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January 21, 2011

Twitter in false Oxford Street gunman warning

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by Darren Allan

Twitter managed to stir up an unnecessary panic in the capital yesterday, with workers and visitors to central London being told to stay inside because it was believed a gunman was on the loose.

According to a report in the Telegraph, this began when a Scotland Yard training dossier somehow found its way onto the micro-blogging site. The subject of the dossier – how best to tackle a rogue gunman running amok on Oxford Street.

Through Chinese whispers, or indeed tweeting, that soon morphed into a “real” story, with people thinking this was a live incident and that police had issued official warnings.

Unsurprisingly, the police aren’t best pleased about the leak of the dossier, and have launched an investigation into who’s to blame. They also warned about the dangers of misinformation spreading virally on social networking sites.

Meanwhile, the Twitter community hasn’t lost its sense of humour over the incident. Lord_Credo tweeted: “Apparently a baker in Oxford Street has lost it and is spraying passersby with pastry cream. Remain indoors if you’re diabetic.”

Story link: Twitter in false Oxford Street gunman warning

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