At least one online publication has learned a lesson the hard way … just because it’s on Twitter, doesn’t mean it’s true. Last week, actor George Clooney hosted a star-studded dinner/fundraiser with President Obama at his “quaint” Studio City home (an affluent residential neighborhood in Los Angeles). The dinner was certainly an elaborate and news-worthy affair, with Jack Black, Salma Hayek, Barbara Streisand and many other celebrities on the attendance list. Ben Hoffman, a comedian (who was not in attendance at the event), decided to “live tweet” as if he was there amongst the elite dinner crowd. What many realized to be farce, however, was lost in translation as at least one publication, Silicon Valley Insider sister publication Business Insider, fell for the gag and reported Hoffman’s tweets as fact (in particular a racy joke was supposedly said by Obama about John Travolta’s recent lawsuit woes). The writer even tweeted about it.
In an effort to make a correction (and save face), the publication has since changed the story’s headline to “Check Out These Hysterical ‘Live Tweets’ From Tonight’s Obama-Clooney Fundraiser.” The moral of this story (and a reminder for us all): Twitter is not a regulated news service … although the following would have made for one really hilarious dinner party.