On Sunday night one post sent Twitter into a frenzy. The verified account of a man named David Dellanave reported the Minnesota Vikings would open U.S. Bank Stadium to the homeless due to record-breaking cold temperatures hitting the Minneapolis area. Everyone jumped on the news, dozens of websites reported it as fact and the Vikings scored a huge public relations win. There’s just one problem: it wasn’t true.
The tweet scored nearly 7,000 retweets, more than 11,000 likes and had 205 responses as the time this was published. It went around the world and back again before actual reporters shot it down:
Full disclosure: we saw the news and nearly posted on it because it does sound like a great story and a logical idea. When we took a longer look at the source and lack of confirmation, we decided to hold off. Many other sites opted to run with it. After all, it was a verified account passing along what appeared to be legit information. Turns out it wasn’t.
This was an example of what news has become. We’re all susceptible to fake stories even in sports, and tonight was no exception. CBS Sports, Yahoo! Sports and numerous other reputable organizations ran with the story. We’re not pointing that out to knock those sites, just to point out that it can happen to anyone nowadays.
Dellanave eventually took to Twitter and retracted his statement, but the damage was done:
Dellanave already had more than 14,000 followers before his initial tweet, so it’s not like he needed it to get people to follow him. But his bio says, “Man, entrepreneur, angel investor, fitness scientist, deadlift whisperer, and owner of the most innovative gym in the world.” So he’s not a reporter, yet he decided he could break some “news.”
Then he got indignant that people were angry:
And taunted a reporter:
And another one:
And seemed to enjoy the fact that he had given people false hope and gained notoriety:
The lesson here is check your sources, just like with political news or anything else, make sure your source is reputable. David Dellanave is most certainly not a reputable source. In fact, he appears to be a massive tool.
UPDATE: This whole mess apparently started with a now-deleted tweet from this account:
But it didn’t take off until Dellanave false tweeted the story as “breaking” news.