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The CIA thought live-tweeting the bin Laden raid was a good idea

Just because you can tweet as it happened doesn't mean you should.
Jon Fingas, @jonfingas
May 2, 2016
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Reuters/Larry Downing

Tweeting a historical event as it happened can be enlightening, such as when the History Channel reenacted the sinking of the Titanic. It provides the context and time scale that you might miss reading a news story. However, the CIA just showed why this isn't always a good idea. The agency decided to recreate the raid that killed Osama Bin Laden through 'live' tweets this weekend, starting with the operation's approval and ending with confirmation of the terrorist leader's death. It was supposed to be informative, but it ended up rubbing a lot of people the wrong way... and it's not hard to see what triggered that outrage.

Aside from the lack of detail (bin Laden's death boils down to one vague tweet), the very existence of the Twitter campaign makes light of a serious event that's still fresh in the minds of many people. Bin Laden was ultimately responsible for both killing thousands of innocents and fostering hatred that continues to this day. Is it really a good idea to mark the anniversary of his death in a string of social network posts? Much like some companies' ill-advised attempts to commemorate the 9/11 attacks, it comes across as capitalizing on a tragedy rather than a sincere, solemn reflection.

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