"Please retweet this," @Reonandnene's message started. "Because of the earthquake, my house collapsed, and moreover, I cannot get out. I'm trapped under rubble. Please call for help."
The tweet hit only an hour after the quake. It was retweeted over 12,000 times. And it was all a lie.
Tonight, a very real earthquake did rock northeastern Japan. And there were very real tsunami warnings.
A second tweet followed, with @Reonandnene saying that she or he forgot to give the home's location: "It's Kesennuma." Located in Miyagi, Japan, that city was hit hard by last year's earthquake and tsunami.
Other users flooded @Reonandnene with replies, asking if the Twitter user was alright. Even the Asahi Newspaper's official account contacted @Reonandnene and asked for her location, J-Cast reports. But about an hour later, @Reonandnene gave another Twitter user a cheery, "Yep!! Right now, I'm fine thank you."
That was followed with this tweet from @Reonandnene: "It's a lie lulz You're all so stupid (^ ^)," adding that if it were true, Twitter would do something.
The original tweet for help, however, was still going viral, with someone connected to the Kesennuma fire department asking if @Reonandnene could write down his or her location.
And @Reonandnene is now tweeting about going to see a musical tomorrow, seemingly unfazed by those tweets hitting the front page of Yahoo! News in Japan.
People have used Twitter to get help, and not just in Japan, but around the world. If jerks like this keep crying wolf, Twitter will become so jaded that people will be ignored when they really need Twitter's power for good.
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