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Mar 25 / King Kaufman

Verification: Tweet-spoofing site is one more reason to be careful

We talked just last week about how you can’t always trust even trusted journalism brands when you’re trying to verify the accuracy of a rumor or news report. Poynter’s Jeff Sonderman points out that you also can’t always trust a trusted Twitter feed, even if you’ve seen the tweet in question with your own eyes.

Sonderman wrote last week about Lemme Tweet That For You, a year-old website that lets you create a spoof tweet that looks real, like this:

Obama tweet

That’s obviously not a real tweet, because I only secretly ran Barack Obama’s first presidential campaign, not both of them. But it sure looks real, if you don’t look too closely. Sonderman writes:

Of course, it would be pretty easy to debunk one of these fake tweets if you just visit the person’s actual Twitter profile to see if the tweet really exists.

But what if it’s passed off as screenshot evidence of an allegedly deleted tweet? Much tougher to disprove. Proceed with caution.

When trying to verify something online, proceed with caution should be your standard operating procedure, if not your mantra. Simply put: Don’t trust anything or anybody. Keep digging until you’re sure what you’re seeing is real and true.

And of course, always follow Lennay’s Law: Tell us what you know, and tell us how you know it.

As noted in the comments of Sonderman’s piece, The Happy Place posted about Lemme Tweet That For You a year ago—with a very funny Tim Tebow tweet highlighted—and tweet-spoofing was possible long before LTTFY popped up. The site just makes it easier.