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How Truth and Lies Spread on Twitter

Sandbags surround the New York Stock Exchange on Oct. 30
Sandbags surround the New York Stock Exchange on Oct. 30Photograph by Katia Porzecanski/Bloomberg

Hurricane Sandy was a huge moment for New York City. It was also a huge moment for how we think about social media.

For many in the superstorm’s path up the Eastern Seaboard, social networks quickly became an essential source of information from news organizations, civic organizations, and friends and family. As power went out in lower Manhattan on Monday evening, many residents turned to Twitter and Facebook on their smartphones to learn exactly how the hurricane was impacting their neighborhoods. CBS estimates three and a half million tweets with the hashtag #Sandy during the height of the storm; popular photo-sharing service Instagram saw 10 photos of Hurricane Sandy uploaded per second.