When Twitter killed Mrinal Sen

ByNL Team
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On Wednesday night, there was some sad ‘news’ that ‘broke’ on social media. If Twitterverse was to believed, acclaimed filmmaker Mrinal Sen had passed away. There were no reports in the mainstream media – it was as if the TV news channels, even the Bengali ones, just did not care. No one was tweeting in Bengali. But several prominent English-language ‘social media influencers’ took to Twitter to express grief.

There was the guru of all he purveys, Suhel Seth…

…and quizmaster and sports manager Joy Bhattacharjya.

And, of course, soon-to-be editor-in-chief of Hindustan Times, Bobby Ghosh.

Pinkvilla, ever the reliable source of film ‘news’ rooted in rumour, decided to give Twitterati the legitimacy it deserves.

Or not. While deaths of public figures such as Amy Winehouse and Whitney Houston have been reported first on Twitter, the news of Sen’s demise turned out to be a social media hoax.

While Seth and Bhattacharjya deleted their original ‘news’ tweets and issued clarifications, Pinkvilla seems to have saved the ‘piece’ for when the news comes true, denying access to the readers in the meantime.

Ghosh, on the other hand, let his tweet be, simply RTing one of the clarifications. Makes sense for someone joining a media conglomerate whose primary product is a newspaper. After all, once something goes into print, there is no taking it back – late night runs can only do so much.

So, an error that gets displayed prominently is owned up to in a corrigendum buried deep within the inside pages. Ironically, the rumour of Sen’s death will deal a blow to the credibility of social media, letting legacy media live to die another day.

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