Five viral stories about Boston attacks that are not true

(CNN) — In the aftermath of dramatic events like Monday’s bombing attack at the Boston Marathon, it’s a truth of our times that millions of people will get early bits of news via social media.

To be sure, sites like Twitter and Facebook were used extensively by police, relief groups and governments to share important information about the bombings. But there’s also a more unfortunate side to how the Web responds to sudden bad news.

Sometimes accidentally and sometimes maliciously, false information gets loose. And in the rapid-fire digital echo chamber, it doesn’t take long to spread.

“On days like this, Twitter shows its best & worst: loads of info at huge speed, but often false & sometimes deliberately so,” said Mark Blank-Settle, of the BBC College of Journalism, in a post on the site.

As always, news discovered online (or anywhere else, really) should be double-checked before it’s passed…

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