Boston Police mastered social media after marathon bombings

April 30, 2013

When law-enforcement agencies concluded their manhunt for Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, the first official announcement wasn’t made at a press conference. Instead, the news was shared in two Twitter messages: “Suspect in custody. Officers sweeping the area. Stand by for further info,” read the first tweet from the Boston Police Department on April 19, followed by “CAPTURED!!! The hunt is over. The search is done. The terror is over. And justice has won. Suspect in custody.”

Most police departments now have Twitter feeds for official communications, but officials in Boston were particularly adroit in how they took advantage of social media after the bombings, reports. “We tried to put out as much information as we possibly could without jeopardizing the investigation,” said Cheryl Fiandaca, bureau chief for public information at the Boston Police Department. Fiandaca was previously a freelance reporter for WCVB-TV in Boston.

Besides posting updates, the Boston Police Department also corrected false claims that were spreading across social networks, and warned news media not to compromise safety or police tactics by broadcasting live video of officers approaching search locations. — Greg Beaubien


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