By JAKE COYLE, Associated Press

Cassy Hayes and Jasmine Coleman were among the first fans to arrive outside the Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center in Los Angeles where Michael Jackson was brought and later pronounced dead.

How had Hayes, 25, and Coleman, 21, heard the news so quickly? Twitter.

The two young women had learned about Jackson’s health like so many who get their news nowadays: by reading the ever-flowing feed of real-time information on the microblogging service.

Jackson’s unexpected death at 50 was just the latest major news event where Twitter played a central role. But just as quickly as Twitter has emerged as a news source, so, too, has its susceptibility to false rumors become abundantly apparent.

The extraordinary amount of news coverage the mainstream media has recently devoted to Twitter has led some to think the press is in love with the 3-year-old microblogging service. But it’s a jealous love.

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