First off: As far as we can tell, there is *not* a major international incident developing involving the U.S., Iran and a downed plane. What *is* happening? Hard to tell: There were a flurry of reports this morning that said Iran was claiming to have forced down a U.S. military plane. But the Pentagon says that’s not the case, and subsequent reports are only getting fuzzier.
Want to get really fuzzy? Head to Twitter’s Summize search engine and type in “Iran” (we’ve got a live version below), and you’ll see just how loud and confusing the Twitter echo chamber can be.
Part of the problem: While Twitter theoretically treats all voices equally, some carry much more weight than others. Jason Calacanis, for instance, has nearly 43,000 people follwing him. So when he taps out “Breaking: US miltary plane forced to land in Iran after breaking air space. Just heard on France24 hour news. October surprise? Hostages?!” that has huge ripple effect in the Twittersphere.
Similarly, there are multiple Twitter feeds that claim to be affiliated with Reuters, which is as cautious and by-the-book as mainstream media gets. So when “ReutersFlash” says that “Iran news agency says U.S. warplane violated iran territory, forced to land in Iran” that seems meaningful to Twitters’ “didja hear?” users. Consume carefully.
See Also: Iran’s New Secret Weapon: Photoshop