According To Twitter, Prop 8 Was Overturned Before It Existed

daniel-phoneThere’s an interesting trending topic on Twitter right now: Prop 8. Thousands of people are retweeting that the California ballot measure which restricted same-sex marriage has been overturned. The only problem? It hasn’t been.

What’s happening is that everyone is retweeting the message with a link to an article in the LA Times saying that the gay marriage ban has been overturned. But those people aren’t looking at the date of the article. It was published a year ago, on May 16, 2008. Prop 8 passed in November 2008, so unless we’re in some kind of Lost-style time warp, nothing has changed.

This incident highlights a downside of Twitter. While it’s great at disseminating information quickly, it’s just as good at disseminating false information quickly. And if a lot of people are saying it — as thousands are here — it must be true, right? Wrong.

What’s worse is that the LA Times itself is to blame here. They tweeted out a link to the story earlier today, and deleted it. They’ve since issue a retraction — in the form of a tweet, naturally.

Update: According to Danny Sullivan, before the LA Times tweeted out the old story, ABC News had a story about Prop 8 being overturned that people started tweeting out also.