Peter Kafka

Recent Posts by Peter Kafka

How to Hoodwink Twitter (Hint: It’s Easy)

How can you use Twitter to spread falsehoods? So easy! So many options! Here are three:

  • Make up a story about the death of a celebrity. Any celebrity.
  • Make up a story about Apple (AAPL). Any story.
  • Make up a story about Conan O’Brien and get the crowd at a Digg event to pass it along for you.

We saw the last one in action Saturday night at a South by Southwest event, when pranksters cooked up a stupid story about the unemployed talk show host, designed in part to promote a Web video studio.

This one didn’t get picked up by the mainstream press, but it did find plenty of takers for a while on Twitter.

CNET’s Daniel Terdiman, who happily participated in the hoax, describes it in great detail here. If you want the short version, here’s a video of the event’s genesis, provided by David Spark. Pretty simple stuff: Anyone can do it.

[Image credit: LiveFromAmsterdam]


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Nobody was excited about paying top dollar for a movie about WikiLeaks. A film about the origins of Pets.com would have done better.

— Gitesh Pandya of BoxOfficeGuru.com comments on the dreadful opening weekend box office numbers for “The Fifth Estate.”