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The official Call of Duty Twitter account reported an explosion in Singapore at a laboratory. The government declared a state of martial law and quarantined a 30-mile area near the labs. Civilians trying to escape this quarantine were met with lethal force by the troops:
BREAKING NEWS: Unconfirmed reports are coming in of an explosion on the North bank of the Singapore Marina.— Call of Duty (@CallofDuty) September 29, 2015
UPDATE: Sources confirm explosion took place at Singapore Research Laboratories belonging to Coalescence Corporation pic.twitter.com/UyW9Ph8XA4— Call of Duty (@CallofDuty) September 29, 2015
UPDATE: Singapore Authorities have officially announced a state of emergency and declared martial law.— Call of Duty (@CallofDuty) September 29, 2015
Shots have been fired at the newly established blockades as citizens attempt to flee the new "Quarantine Zone." pic.twitter.com/7kvZLGDtwB— Call of Duty (@CallofDuty) September 29, 2015
UPDATE: Riot police have dispersed rioting mobs to the southwest of Chinatown using LRAD sonic area control weapons. pic.twitter.com/yDHT2tnXzj— Call of Duty (@CallofDuty) September 29, 2015
That said, Twitter is an absolutely terrible place to present a long-form narrative. Individual tweets can be - and frequently are - shared out of context. If you only saw the first post without the others, you might actually think it's real. The fact that many news stories have broken on Twitter before professional news outlets gave these tweets at least some credibility. The Call of Duty Twitter account didn't help matters by renaming themselves "Current News Agg." for the entirety of their broadcast. The Twitter account's description, meanwhile, was changed to "Where we bring you real news."
Whether or not people were actually fooled by the tweets, some considered the social media stunt to be in poor taste. Fake reports of terrorism, even implausible ones, are never greeted warmly. Yes, people could quickly learn that the tweets were fictional just by checking Google but I doubt the short scare was appreciated by people who scrambled to verify it. You could also argue that the momentary confusion that these tweets caused was intentional, so as to make them more widely read and shared.
Anyway, what do you think? Was this a dumb idea on Activision's part? Let us know in the comments below.