BBC’s Liege story action questionable

14 Mar

While both RTE News and BBC News tweeted about the grenade attack in Liege, these two news outlets approached the subject differently. On the RTE News website, there are ways readers can share the article: via Twitter, Facebook and Google+. BBC News, however, does not have a sharing toolbar on its story and instead asks readers to post pictures of what happened in Liege if they were there.

BBC’s approach raises several issues. People could fake that they were in Liege during the attack and send in fake/Photoshopped pictures of the disaster. This could skew the story into an entirely different direction.  Also, computer “robots” are known for stealing content from other people and aggregating it onto other websites (this happened with one of my websites). A bot could post false information and even give a fake phone number. Like “Jimmy’s Story” and the “eagle snatches dog” legend, BBC’s request for pictures could bring in fake or negative sources. Although BBC may have been trying to be more interactive with its readers, this just isn’t the right way to go about it.

RTE’s allowing people to share the article is a much more effective (and accurate) way to let people interact with the story; whenever a story is shared on a social network, it can be discussed. Also, requests for help can be made this way.

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