In that location are a couple of stories crisscrossing the InterWebs that actually get under my skin. One is demonstrably imitation, the other is just every bit unlikely and even more stupid. Both point to an essential flaw of news gathering in the Internet age: Speed kills.
First: Despite what you may take read elsewhere, Saudi King Abdullah is
conspiring with Goldman Sachs to purchase Facebook for $150 billion just to shut it down and prevent another Egyptian-style uprising from happening in his country. That “story” was published equally “Sunday Humour” in the LOLnews section of a site called Dawn Wires.
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Granted, aside from the basic premise, the story wasn’t brimming with clues that it was intended every bit satire. In other words, it wasn’t exactly a yuckfest. There was non a unmarried joke about Mark Zuckerberg riding a camel, despite copious opportunities. And information technology did quote a legit New York Times piece at length nearly Yard-Sach’s cozy relationship with Facebook. Nonetheless, it ended with the disclaimer “Sunday Humor article [sic] at Dawnwires.com are meant to sense of humor our readers. They may or may not be the truth.”
Plainly, however, a number of international websites — like the Tehran Times and the AhlulBayt News Agency — didn’t go the joke and published the story as straight news. Google employee Wael Ghonim, the human being responsible for creating the Facebook folio that helped galvanize the Egyptian defection, bemoans via Twitter the number of news sources repeating this bit of nonsense as fact:
“Egyptian mainstream media is reporting this [Dawn Wires story] as existent news. Some journalists need some serious training!”
Most established U.S. news sources did not fall for the Dawn Wires hoax. But many did fall for a story almost as egregious — the rumors of a white iPad.
The blogosphere has its knickers in a twist about Apple’s announcing an extremely stake version of the Jesus Tablet on Wednesday, thank you to rumors coming out of Mainland china. A few sites even claim to have photos of the white iPad, though some of them are clearly faux.
Of class, this story is so wispy most sites can’t fifty-fifty pretend to verify it, and then they rely on a trick journos have used for decades: When you desire to reprint an unverified rumor without actually seeming to endorse it, pose it in the form of a question. This allows you to become the same traffic while sloughing off all responsibility for the story actually beingness true.
Thus we have: “Volition the iPad ii Come in White?” (Business organisation Insider), “The Elusive Great White iPad 2?” (MSNBC), “Is This Apple’s Next iPad?” (Boy Genius Report), and literally hundreds of others.
The question marks are flight fast and furious, so here’s a question for you: Who gives a frak?
Seriously — does anyone who doesn’t have an Apple logo embroidered on his underwear actually intendance whether the iPad comes in white? I do not understand the appeal.
(Also: Does anyone out in that location notice Zach Galifianakis even remotely funny? I don’t get that either. Watching “Due Date” was like having a colonoscopy sans anesthesia.)
The problem here, equally I’ve noted in the past, is one of speed. The Internet (and by the “Internet,” I mostly hateful Google) rewards speed above virtually everything else — certainly above accuracy or originality. Sites get big by being commencement either to study or echo, and then stay big by standing to report/repeat at high speed, facts exist damned.
If yous see a juicy story — fifty-fifty an outlandish one like a Saudi prince buying a social network to shut it down or Apple rumor No. 15,642 in a series — you’d all-time publish it, even if all your instincts tell you it’southward BS. If yous don’t your competitors volition, and they’ll reap the rewards, revenues, and all that Google juice.
This is the sorry state of journalism, circa 2011. And people wonder why those of united states of america who are yet left potable then heavily.
Do y’all care about white iPhones and/or bearded fat “comedians” with unpronounceable final names? Weigh in below or email me: [email protected].
This commodity, “Facebook and iPad, leading the pack in fake Internet rumors,” was originally published at InfoWorld.com. Track the crazy twists and turns of the tech industry with Robert Ten. Cringeley’s Notes from the Field blog, and subscribe to Cringely’south Notes from the Hush-hush newsletter. For the latest business technology news, follow InfoWorld.com on Twitter.