How a @totalprat duped the UK's media on Twitter - Channel 4 News

Journalists often use Twitter for information on breaking stories - but when the story of three women held in domestic "slavery" broke on Thursday, one social media user decided to play a prank.

Responding to employees from, for example, Sky News, @totalprat said the house the media were looking for was located in Mordaunt Street, in Brixton.

He also tweeted his concerns about getting back to his house from work with police on the street, and his shock that people on his street had "apparently had slaves for 30 years", saying he "always thought they looked odd".

Mr Mitchell was not, however, on his way back to Mordaunt Street from work. He was at an airport. Flying from London back to Edinburgh. Where he lives.

Reporters from press agencies and organisations such as CNN and the Times began contacting @totalprat, asking for more information.

The apparent result of @totalprat's joke was tweeted by one presumably genuine resident of Mordaunt Street. It was also reported by local residents that a media helicopter had been dispatched to the area.

The episode shines a light on the media rush for information when a story breaks, but also raises questions over Mr Mitchell's actions. He said it had been "truly the funniest afternoon I have had in about three days", despite the fact that his prank centred on a disturbing and tragic story.

@totalprat received something of an angry response from members of press, with some accusing him of wasting people's time. It was also suggested that Mr Mitchell was wrong to "have a laugh" in relation to such an emotionally charged story.

@totalprat responded by saying that anyone who believes the veracity of a Twitter account called "@totalprat", which includes as its avatar a picture of a naked man, has questionable intelligence.

http://www.channel4.com/news/twitter-slavery-media-journalists-total-prat-women-freed