An Early April First Joke

Yesterday, I spoke about how people can put up anything on the Internet, and some people believe it.

Here’s a great example of this, with a twist:

I was poking around, and came across this link.

It’s a link to a story saying the SEC arrested somebody for insider trading after making 126 straight high-risk trades and turning $800 into $350 million dollars in just two weeks, and the arrestee claims to be a time traveller.

Unfortunately, if you look a little more closely at the story, you see where it originated. It is a story found in the Weekly World News (here’s the link to that particular story).

The Weekly World News is one of those “newspapers” you find right by the checkout counter. It’s the only one that’s still in black-and-white, and it always has completely bizarre stories on page one (and page two and three and four and. . . . )

Stories you just won’t find anywhere else, like:

“Ten Ways To Tell If Your Co-Worker Is An Extraterrestrial”

“Scientists Find The Eject Button For Your Soul”

“The Sun Will Explode In Less Than 6 Years”

“New Spray Wards Off Gays– Like Bugs”

“Iraqi Submarine Prowling Lake Michigan”

“Reality Is A Lie: We’re All Living In The Matrix”

“Terrorist Junk Food Funds Attacks On America”

In short, a perpetual weekly April Fools’ joke.

In this case, I doubt any of those who linked to the story would have done so had they seen where the story originated.

However, unintentionally or not, we had “story laundering” happen here. By reprinting the story on a Yahoo page, it gave the story a type of legitimacy it wouldn’t have had otherwise.

For shame, Yahoo.

When a story is hard to believe, you really ought to check it. Use a search engine to see if more legitimate sources have said the same thing (but don’t give much credence to a story if a whole bunch of places just copied the story verbatim or near-verbatim).

Think about it.

Email Ed

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