As details about the arrest of Elvis Dumervil emerged via Twitter this morning, one Tweet struck folks - including members of the Denver media - as rather odd.
While reports that Dumervil had approached a vehicle, lifted his shirt, and brandished a gun swirled, one Denver Post beat writer presumably said this:
My sources say Elvis Dumervil was only showing that women his new gangster tattoo, and not his weapon. Charges to be dropped.
The Tweet came from the account @PostBronco, belonging to "Lindsey Jones" who's profile claims that "My dog loves peanut butter".
Several members of the local media responded.
The president of Mile High Sports, James Merilatt said this:
@PostBroncos, Dumervil was flashing his new gangster tattoo, not his weapon. Oh, that's MUCH better!"
Talk show host, Brandon Spano also reacted to Jones' presumed post, although, unlike Merilatt, he backtracked and deleted the comments he made in response.
@PostBronco is a fake Twitter account.
The real Lindsay Jones (not Lindsey) Tweets under the handle @PostBroncos (not Bronco).
@jamesmerilatt That's the fake account I'm trying to get shut down, James."
We see this all the time. Fake Twitter accounts are at once one of the fun things about Twitter and the scourge of Twitter. Fake Adam Schefters and Fake Bill Simmonses and such bite media members in the butt all the time. It's funny to see - but, at the same time it can be slanderous.
When credible people like Lindsay Jones are mimicked, the things they presumably said (but didn't) can be twisted, misinterpreted, and cause harm - harm to people, harm to reputations.
Whomever created the fake Lindsay Jones account probably thinks it's hilarious that people reacted to his Tweet this morning. And it kind of is. But, on the other hand, misinformation was spread. In that sense, the Tweet was harmful.
Some of the account's other Tweets are harmlessly funny:
Prater a no show at
#Broncos mini camp. Went to Diamond Cabaret they haven't seen him in two weeks. "We don't know where he is"
But those can't be mistaken for real news. They're clearly comedy. Nobody could be tricked by them. This morning's tweet did trick people. That's not funny.