The Associated Press Twitter account is a must-follow for breaking-news junkies. It's also a great guide to the many ways you can fuck up breaking news. Like when it reported the status this morning of an aircraft carrying the bodies of MH17 victims back to Holland:
Now, this quickly led to a freakout on Twitter, and understandably so. The MH17 shootdown has been big news, rife with cloak-and-dagger recriminations and lingering mysteries. And it wasn't the only bad aviation news; nine minutes previously, the AP had been tweeting about devastation at the scene of another commercial jet crash in Taiwan.
So suggesting that a plane carrying the bodies of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 victims had also crashed was apt to make tweeters go bonkers.
It was also, once everyone had a second to think about it, highly unlikely to be true.
And if you took another second to think about it, the AP tweet conveyed another, entirely sensible meaning.
The AP was quick to say SORRY GUYS.
Some journalists pointed out that the problem may have involved tweeting about a plane landing safely, as if that were news, in the first place.
But on the other hand, did you really not get this on a closer reading?
But then Twitter, as is its wont, may have gone a bit overboard.
Which made some Twitter users take extreme, if appropriate, evasive maneuvers.
Great job, everybody. Stay tuned for more BREAKING tweets on the Beyoncè-Jay Z BREAKUP rumor.