The Internet is a vast mine of information; the problem is, not all of it is accurate. For journalists, accuracy is everything. The question of proving the authenticity of journalistic material is a seemingly an ever-increasing burden.
There has been much debate about which system for verifying social media reports is the most effective - is tweet first, ask questions later the best policy? ITV News recently fell foul of this tendency to immediately share information without authentication when it broadcast a piece of footage from a videogame believing it to be an IRA video.
The problem of verification of information is not simply a problem for journalists, though. The satirical news network The Onion recently posted a series of tweets claiming the US Congress had taken school children hostage for the sum of $12 Trillion. This caused confusion, uncertainty and outrage from some who felt the comedy group had gone a little too far. Of course, The Onion only ever publishes satire, but the confusion and the irate reactions to such material are quickly amplified and disseminated via the web.