How Twitter confirmed the explosion in Harlem first

Originally posted on Gigaom:

Every day, people break news on Twitter (s TWTR) first. This creates a new real-time global sensor network of eyewitnesses at events as they unfold.

However, the process of verifying information during a fast breaking news event can pose a challenge. The sources are unique — they are in the right place at the right time tweeting what they see. But they are just regular people with Twitter accounts, previously unknown to the world at large, but now suddenly on the front line of breaking real-world events.

This unique aspect of Twitter has led some to question the reliability of the information produced. However, many overlook the fact that the aggregate data patterns of early eyewitness tweets can often provide one of the most accurate lenses through which information can be confirmed.

The reason is simple: Twitter itself is one of the most effective means for verifying tweets.

This week…

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