On Friday a news story/rumor blew up across Twitter and other social media sites claiming that the founders of Formspring.me, a popular Twitter and Facebook plugin that allowed people to ask questions of the user, had created the site not to satisfy the Internet’s vanity but to instead cull user information that would then be publicly displayed to, presumably, “teach people a lesson.” That lesson being that Web designers are dicks, we guess.
But quite a lot about the story was fishy, not least of which was that no major news outlets were reporting this explosive story. The Inquisitr did some basic fact-checking and figured out what was going on: that all the links seemed to lead back to one non-official source (that now redirects to The Inquisitr) and that though the story was claimed to be an Associated Press release, it did not adhere to AP style.
The story is just about over, now, though people who breathlessly passed on the rumor are now a bit more hesitant to pass on the correction. That’s human nature. What’s also human nature is what’s likely to follow: dozens of talking heads, both online and off, who will now discuss at length “what this means for the Internet” or “what this means for social media.”
We’ll tell you what the Formspring story means: People are gossips, information still has to be vetted, and Twitter never promised to do that for you.