Moments after the plane crashed at Amsterdam's Schipol airport on Wednesday morning the news was appearing on Twitter, CNN International correspondent Errol Barnett said.
"This is a story that broke on Twitter first and continued to unfold from there. Eyewitnesses were posting comments about the shock of seeing the plane 'dive' and amazement of passengers walking out of the wreckage," Barnett said.
Barnett said that when CNN saw the image it moved quickly to confirm with Dutch officials that a crash had happened.
"Within minutes we were reporting on the story."This proves that social networking sites can be a real asset in covering breaking news and gathering eyewitness accounts but the web should always be treated with extreme caution," Barnett said.
"We make a concerted effort to reach out to people posting on the Internet to verify what they say matches up with official accounts."