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CBSNews.com has severed its relationship with the host of a web show who sent out an erroneous Tweet yesterday saying that Apple co-founder Steve Jobs had died.
The offending Tweet was sent from the Twitter account of What’s Trending, a web series independently produced by Disrupt Group and anchored by Disrupt co-founder Shira Lazar.
CBSNews.com had been hosting the web series since May. But the show and Lazar had no newsgathering partnership with CBS News. In fact, the following disclaimer ran after each show: “The What’s Trending show is produced by Shira Lazar Productions and the Disrupt Group, who are solely responsible for the content, opinions and viewpoints.”
Lazar, through the What’s Trending Twitter account, issued a somewhat flippant apology on Friday for the Tweet: “Apologies — reports of Steve Job’s death completely unconfirmed. Live on.”
Later, she issued another apology from her own Twitter account: “On behalf of all of us at @disruptgroup we sincerely apologize for the inaccuracy of what was tweeted earlier today. – EP/Host @WhatsTrending.
Although her original Tweet was quickly deleted, it spread instantly through the blogosphere. And with embarrassing headlines attributing the blunder to CBS, the damage had been done. CBS News executives moved quickly on Friday to oust Lazar and What’s Trending from its web site, The Hollywood Reporter has learned. Executives informed CBS Interactive to remove from CBSNews.com all material related to Lazar and What’s Trending.
Lazar’s false Jobs tweet was followed Friday by the hacking of the NBC News Twitter account with hackers posting bogus tweets claiming that a civilian airliner had been hijacked and crashed into the World Trade Center site in New York. The incident is being investigated by the FBI cyber crimes unit. The Tweets were quickly removed and NBC News anchor Brian Williams apologized on Friday’s Nightly News for the “scare that could have been caused by such a reckless and irresponsible act.”
New York City remains on high alert as the tenth anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks looms. City officials have set up checkpoints around Manhattan in the wake of what New York police have characterized as a credible terror threat.