A man in Maryland got misidentified by twitter users as the perpetrator of a deplorable attack and he published an article about what the experience was like for him. The accusation was retreeted half a million times. This part jumped out at me:
As for the woman who shared his home address: She deleted it and posted an apology, writing that in all of her eagerness to see justice served, she was swept up in the mob that so gleefully shared misinformation, depriving someone of their own right to justice. Her correction was shared by fewer than a dozen people.
I find this to be a universal truth about humankind - we tend to get more excited about reporting an injustice than about correcting one. I’ve always loved a Mark Twain quote that summarizes this situation nicely:
A lie can travel halfway around the world while the truth is still putting on its shoes.
I’ve since learned that, like so many popular quotations, this one is credited to the wrong person:
Commonly attributed to Mark Twain, that quotation instead appears to be a descendant of a line published centuries ago by the satirist Jonathan Swift. Variants emerged and mutated over time until a modern version of the saying was popularized by a Victorian-era preacher.
How ironic that a quote about misinformation is misattributed.