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Thursday 1 June 2023 Dublin: 12°C
Twitter feed #Derry
# Bomb
How Twitter broke the Derry bomb blast
Twitter users broke the story an hour before mainstream media published reports – see how the story unfolded.

NEWS OF A bomb blast in Derry city in the early hours of Tuesday morning began to circulate on Twitter shortly after midnight – an hour before any news organisation had the chance to release a report.

The blast was caused by a car bomb that exploded outside a shopping centre shortly after midnight – causing substantial damage but no injuries.

Almost immediately after the blast – just after midnight – one of the first tweets was sent by Derry resident NateOMc, stating simply:

Who all heard that?

Once residents realised a bomb had definitely exploded, anger streamed through Twitter. One user in Derry tweeted:

Fucking explosion in Derry a few minutes ago. Close enough to feel shock wave under the house. Another fuckin bomb, dissident c**ts!

While another tweeted:

That blast sounded close, Culmore Road on lockdown….

Worried users wondered what had happened – and if anybody had been injured in the blast.

Killingflowers tweeted:

Bomb in #derry tonight. Ulster bank/davincis area. Hope to christ no-one is hurt, or worse…

And lilleebean said:

No mainstream news reports yet about #derry bomb.

With no confirmed reports released, Conordarrall tweeted: “There was only one explosion, but it was loud enough. Unsubstantiated reports of no casualties. Waiting to hear more.”

Within the same hour, philiplarkin tweeted:

Hmm I think @utv @bbcnews @rtenews could use someone on their social media team that’s on the ball with such things like this #derry news.

Killingflowers then went to the bomb site, and posted a Twitpic: – closest I could get to the bomb site. Stand road cordoned off. #derry

Another report came in from AllanCavanagh, who tweeted:

@WestAwake multiple tweets, Ulsterbank/ Da Vinci’s area, @conordarrall‘s dad’s a firefighter, says no reports of casualties.

Tweeting from the site of the blast, lilleebean said:

Lower Strand road, culmore road and duncreggan road cordoned off at the minute.

Meanwhile, no mainstream news organisation had yet published a report on the blast, as dodea98FM pointed out:

Oh my god!! #superfail Sky News. Still nothing on bomb in #Derry

Shortly afterwards – about an hour after the first tweet was posted – RTÉ picked up on the story. Eoinbutler tweeted:

RTE news say only one car bomb, no casualties but substntl damage. Warning received. Area had been cordoned off before bomb exploded.

As reporters began to fill the scene, lilleebean tweeted:

Local journalists all here now, but still no official reporting on utv or bbcni. Twitter most up to date with news.#derry bomb.

Head_Melter points out moments later:

Henry McDonald was told this would happen. #Derry

Twitter users voiced disapproval about the lack of official coverage form mainstream media. RUARED tweeted:

Oh FINALLY the news channels pick it up. Too. Slow.#derry

And niamhs90 tweeted:

surely the bbc etc should start watching twitter a bit better. or have a tweet thing for things like #derry #bomb that the tweets go up

That same hour, The BBC published a report on the blast.

Twitter users continued to piece together the story - ConsolationGoal posted a Twitpic of the site of the blast using Google Street View.

Meanwhile, NiallOK came out in defence of the mainstream media, pointing out:

BBC News have #Derry #bomb story point slagging stations for not being as quick as twitter! Fact checking, folks!

Not all users were convinced however. Hoganist tweeted:

Instant reporting, even when there are few verified facts, is the norm in 24 hour news. Notable that it took a full hour. #derry

And thejpoconor tweeted:

#derry #ulsterbank almost 2.5 hours later, finally there is news on Sky about the bomb blast. Still nothing on BBC24. Take this seriously.

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