➢ BBC NEWS REPORTS: The raid that killed Osama Bin Laden was revealed first on Twitter. An IT consultant, living in Abbottabad, unknowingly tweeted details of the US-led operation as it happened last night. Sohaib Athar, 33, wrote that a helicopter was hovering overhead shortly before the assault began and said that it might not be a Pakistani aircraft.
He only became aware of the significance of his tweets after President Obama announced details of Bin Laden’s death. Mr Athar’s first posting on the subject came at around 1am local time (9pm BST). He wrote: “Helicopter hovering above Abbottabad at 1AM (is a rare event).” Minutes later he was tweeting: “Go away helicopter — before I take out my giant swatter :-/ ”
➢ Rory Cellan-Jones, Technology correspondent, BBC News: I turned on the radio at 0700 this morning and heard the news that Osama Bin Laden had been killed. I immediately picked up my phone and tweeted this fact — only to be bombarded with messages saying this was now very old news. In the age of Twitter you have to be online all night to keep up with events.
“Twitter just had its CNN moment,” as one American website put it, comparing this event with the first Gulf War, where millions suddenly woke up to the fact that cable news was the place to observe a war unfold in real-time. Such is the power of this network that it has become the key resource for older media trying to stay ahead of events.