Observing the bizarre rumor mill from the other side

Raymond Chen

Raymond

I remember being nonplussed upon reading news reports that some Windows feature or other was a sure thing, despite a lack of actual, y’know, official confirmation. The one that sticks with me is the claim that there would be a 128-bit version of Windows 8. The source for this information was a remark in somebody’s LinkedIn profile, which I’m sure is completely reliable, because nobody lies in their LinkedIn profile.

One group claims to have lined up an exclusive interview with the elusive Robert Morgan, although the interview never appears to have taken place.

Not only was the profile fake, it was fakified by the people who “discovered” it.

Another example is the article 8 things you need to know about Windows 8, which says “But there are some things we do know.” And then a few paragraphs later, they admit that everything they know is from job ads and LinkedIn profiles, so y’know, totally reliable.

And then there’s this article, which is 100% speculation. “I’m thinking if such an announcement happens, it’ll be Silverlight for the iPhone.” The basis for this claim is a tweet from somebody guessing that Steve Ballmer will announce Silverlight for iPhone at the WWDC Keynote, which is double-speculation, since Ballmer’s purported appearance was itself just wild speculation (that turned out to be false). After considering the feasibility of such an announcement the article ends, “What do you think? Could the rumors be true?”

I have to admit, I really admire that. The article makes up a rumor, and then asks, “Is it true?” Hey, here’s an idea: “No it isn’t, because you just made it up.”

Today is P. T. Barnum’s birthday. Or at least the day people claim to be his birthday.

Bonus reading: How I Fooled the Internet into Thinking This Fake Sony Nexus Was Real.

Raymond Chen
Raymond Chen

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