Osama Bin Laden is dead. Twitter broke the news

Twitter first broke the news. At 10:25 @keithurban , the former chief of staff for Bush’s Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, broke the news.

“So I’m told by a reputable person they have killed Osama Bin Laden. Hot damn.”

It wasn’t “officially” confirmed until 20 minutes later. I learned about the confirmation by 10:46 AM (Manila time).

President Obama announced to the nation at 11:35 and the world that Osama Bin Laden was killed and the United States was in possession of his body. He was killed by the specially trained and highly mythologized SEAL Team Six, officially called the Naval Special Warfare Development Group, but known even to the locals at their home base Dam Neck in Virginia as just DevGru.

U.S. officials confirmed that they identified Osama bin Laden’s body in Afghanistan with DNA tests, and reports say that they got the match from a grisly source: his dead sister’s brain.

It is not clear if the DNA results are out though.

Without knowing what he was doing, Sohaib Athar, a.k.a. @ReallyVirtual, has more or less just live-tweeted the raid in which terrorist Osama bin Laden was killed today.

“During the raid, Athar speculates that he was two or three kilometers away from the shooting that took place. Once news broke that bin Laden had been killed in Abbottabad, Athar tweeted, “Uh oh, now I’m the guy who liveblogged the Osama raid without knowing it.”

Initial Twitter reactions on Osama Bin Laden’s death are curated below. It is interesting to read @vivian_sue praise “Blessed Pope John Paul II , Osama Bin Laden is dead.” @mcaro89 thinks that since “Osama bin laden dead. Gotta buy new history books” . @TWlTTERWHALE adds that “Osama Bin Laden 2001-2011: World’s Longest Hide-N-Seek Champion”

While waiting for President Obama’s statement, “Twitter stream had already moved from rumor to fact to strange observations (Hitler was confirmed dead exactly 66 years before) to criticisms of Fox News (for spelling “Osama” with a “B”) to inappropriate jokes and fake accounts — OsamainHell tweeted about not being able to do any more videos, while GhostOsama regretted enabling location on his tweets.”

“In other words, Twitter was faster, more accurate, and more entertaining than any other news source out there.

@ReallyVirtual apologizes though. “I apologize for reporting the operation ‘unwittingly/unknowingly’ – had I known about it, I would have tweeted about it ‘wittingly’ I swear.”

Here are initial tweet reactions before President Obama made his announcement:

ABC News shows how the story broke from Twitter.

Timeline of @ReallyVirtual as he live-tweets. The tweets are shown in their chronological order as it unfolded: