Yesterday, an enterprising clown used PRWeb to publish a fake press release about the purported purchasing of WiFi provider ICOA by Google for $400 million. The Associated Press, Business Insider, Forbes, Techcrunch and other websites ran stories about the transaction — without gaining confirmation from Google — and shortly after AllThingsD unmasked the release as fraudulent, the hoodwinked news organizations donned hair shirts in penance for their journalistic malpractice.
The pranked news organizations were right to self-flagellate, and the apologies and self-recriminations appeared to be sincere. “We were wrong on this post, for not following up with Google and the other company involved but posting rather than getting waiting [sic] on a solid confirmation beforehand from either source. We apologize to our readers,” confessed Techcrunch.
Individual bloggers making these mistakes can be forgiven but businesses like Techcrunch, Forbes and Business Insider with experienced editorial staff, making a statement without verifying the source does not make sense.