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Fake Wikileaks op-ed fools New York Times

Fake Wikileaks op-ed fools New York Times

Mon July 30, 2012 8:03am

A PRANK New York Times opinion article trending on Twitter was so successful that it fooled the papers own technology writer.

The article defending Wikileaks and Julian Assange was supposedly written by Bill Keller, former New York Times editor-in-chief and current Op-Ed columnist.

Only it wasn’t. It was really a hoax.

Keller is normally known for disliking Julian Assange. So an op-ed piece in which Keller “finds himself in the awkward position of having to defend Wikileaks” probably should have raised some concerns.

Besides the content of the story, the domain name was also off.

Still New York Times tech writer Nick Bilton tweeted the false link. And for that he’s copping a backlash.

One the first to spot the hoax was privacy researcher Chris Soghoian, who called out Bilton for tweeting the false link.

Upon realising his mistake, Bilton put up a Flikr pic of the article writing:

"After suspecting something was off with the account — namely that it didn't have a little blue "verified" symbol next to it and didn't show an accurate follower count — I discovered that the two "ll"s in the Twitter handle were actually a capital "i" and lowercase "L." So in Twitter's app, it looks like a capital "ll" when in reality it spells his name with an "il." I notified someone at Twitter late last night (see the timestamp of the screenshot) and asked if this was a Twitter bug, or a fake account and they said they would investigate. It turns out, it was the latter."  

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