As new Apple products continue to be released to an audience of hungry tech users, Apple fans are becoming keener than ever to get the latest details about the newest products – sometimes without even stopping to consider the facts.
This appeared to be the case last week, when a picture was initially uploaded onto the popular website Reddit via a throwaway account, together with the text:
“A friend took a photo a while ago at that fruit company, they are obviously even creating their own screws.”
The picture, which has been seen by almost 25,000 people, was of an asymmetric screw, allegedly manufactured in a manner which wouldn’t allow owners to open their own iPhones to tamper with the insides.
Below, the uploader explained that the picture was taken by a ex member of staff.
However, the picture was revealed by website Nyheter 24 to be a hoax, started by staff members at Day4 – an online video company from Sweden.
Lukasz Lindell, head of the company, explained that he had two goals in mind.
“Partly to see if it would work to start a rumour in this way, but also to alert people to how internet users make truth of rumours extremely quickly,” Lindell told the website.
Soon after the Reddit post, websites from around the world were writing stories about Apple and the lengths the company was going to in creating so called “tamper resistant” hardware.
It only took 12 hours, for example, before British website Cult of Mac, a site specializing in “everything Apple” ran a story entitled “Apple may be working on a top-secret asymmetric screw to lock you out of your devices forever”.
Lindell explained that people are too easily “sucked in” to believing rumours online, and that people should be more critical when dealing with such information.
Meanwhile, hesaid that people are easily led to believe that such a picture could be true, as Apple is known for their pentalobe screw system which has prevented everyday users from opening up their devices and tinkering with the hardware.
While urging internet users to be more questioning while online, Day4 stresses on their site that their prank had a purpose, and apologizes to their readers:
“We just want to say sorry to you who feel cheated, but the meaning behind the experiment may provide a longer-term result, that we become more thoughtful about things we read on the Internet.”