Filed under: Media Pranks
Submitted by Larry Croft:
Bin Laden and The IT Crowd: Anatomy of a Twitter hoax
23 May 2011
Rumours circulating on Twitter that Osama Bin Laden was a fan of The IT Crowd sitcom were an elaborate new media hoax. Here comedian Graham Linehan explains how he organised the ruse.
I spread a story on Twitter that in some of the videos seized from his compound during the Navy Seals raid, Osama Bin Laden was watching my sitcom The IT Crowd. I did it to illustrate the lightning speed at which a rumour can circulate and mutate on Twitter.
Only joking! I did it because I thought it would be funny, but it did circulate and mutate really quickly so maybe there’s a good lesson for us here. I mean really, it’s scary what Twitter can do. You can’t get more offline than my mother, and even she said to my brother, the day after the story “broke”, “Did you hear about your brother and Osama?”
So! It appears that one good way of starting a rumour is to pretend that the story is already circulating. (more…)