Twitter sparks Mall of America shooting rumor; turns out to be false alarm

mall of america rect.jpg
Mark Gstohl on Flickr
In the Twitter age, rumors -- and panic -- spread quickly.
One year to the day after a violent melee at the MOA was caught on camera, folks listening to Dave Sinykin's drive-time show on KFAN yesterday evening got quite the scare.

Just before a commercial break, Sinykin's sidekick hit the breaking news sounder and relayed reports that nobody wanted to hear: A number of people on Twitter were saying there had been a shooting and mass panic in the Mall of America.

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Thank goodness, those reports turned out to be only half true -- there was a mass panic, but no shooting. After the jump, we take a look at a Twitter timeline of how the rumor spread.

The first report of a "popping sounds" occurred at 5:09 p.m.:Five minutes later, folks were still unsure what happened: Minutes later, as is wont to happen on Twitter, "popping sounds" came to mean gunshots: Less than 15 minutes after the panic began, it was over: But the rumor continued to spread: Finally, about 20 minutes later, the MOA's official Twitter account weighed in and attributed the popping sounds and panic to "a small fight": But about an hour after the scare began, some MOA Shooting Truthers refused to accept that it was a false alarm:

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