A Rash of False Rumors

I’ve noticed a spike in the level of misinformation circulating about online media and advertising companies. In the last three days alone, we’ve had reports that Wikipedia will accept ads (debunked), that Google is running ads on its Belarusian homepage (debunked in same post), that Google will produce a PC and Google OS (debunked) and that Craigslist is blocking search engine crawlers (debunked).

On the upside, a correction followed each fake rumor within 24 to 48 hours, suggesting a system of checks and balances still functions in the world of tech news. But some of the damage and confusion (and wasted speculation) can’t be undone.

I’m not trying to raise a media or blogger credibility issue here. I expect these failures of the truth are inevitable speedbumps on the NASCAR racetrack that the online ad marketplace has become. We’ve all learned to expect wild moves from Google et al, so perhaps it seems only natural to publish the craziest rumors first and ask questions later.

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