This article was published on February 15, 2018

Twitter tested its local news stream during the Florida school shooting

Twitter tested its local news stream during the Florida school shooting

Twitter tested a new livestreaming service which allows users to watch local news coverage of events live — by broadcasting during a terrifying school shooting.

During the crisis in Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, where a former student shot and killed 17 people, Twitter showed users a livestream of news coverage from Miami’s local WSVN 7. When users searched for information about the shooting, the livestream appeared on the same page as tweets 

According to Buzzfeed News, the use of the streaming was part of a test of Twitter’s new partnerships with local news stations. Judging by the fact that over 50,000 viewers watched the stream, it was a successful test. Kayvon Beykpour, Twitter’s general manager of video, told Buzzfeed, “We’re continuing to work on new ways we can surface credible and relevant information to help people stay informed.”

Twitter livestreams offer users access to the most accurate and current local information, especially if they aren’t from the area and don’t know where to find it. That can be invaluable during a crisis, especially if you’re using Twitter as a primary source of information, as many do nowadays.

The inclusion of local news broadcasts might help prevent the spread of false information, a common occurrence in a situation such as this. Within moments of the shooting, pictures of the “shooter” were circulating online, as was a rumor about a second shooter — none of which had any basis in fact, but nevertheless could be taken as such by someone without any more access to up-to-date news. It certainly won’t stop the problem, but it offers an alternative to Twitter’s drip feed of unconfirmed reports from dubious sources.

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