The “IE User Low IQ Study” Hoax and the “Creation” of News

You may have read about it and even posted it on social networks and media – “Users of Microsoft’s Internet Explorer Web Browser have a Lower-than-average IQ”. This has turned out to be a hoax.

A website called AptiQuant.com published a report on how a study has revealed that IE users have lower-than-average IQ. This, quite understandably, enraged numerous IE users, and hate mail & threats of litigation against AptiQuant followed.

Later, uncanny similarities between AptiQuant.com and CentralTest.co.uk sites were discovered, which led to the veracity of the study and the site itself being questioned. Eventually, the site admitted to the hoax, and apologized to CentralTest for using their website materials, including the same “Our Team” people with different, imaginary names!

The site will surely pull down the fake study, or even the site. But what I find interesting is the speed and authority with which the news of the study spread over the Net over a very short period of time. In this day and age of ubiquitous connectivity, news is created and spread faster then it is authenticated (cue: the brilliantly funny Colbert video posted below). However, it is also true that the research for authenticity is also made more convenient by the Net.

The moral of the story: take news from the Net with a pinch of salt and a bit of time (thyme :).

Stephen Colbert ridicules the media for gun-jumping to label Norway’s gunman as a Muslim fundamentalist.

Finally, you can download the fake study report here.

Update 1: AptiQuant clarified their position as having started the hoax to highlight the incompatibilities of EI6, and also posted tell-tale signs that should have revealed the hoax.

(Please note: Most of these AptiQuant links may not remain valid.)

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