As a computer-generated news site, Google News doesn’t have a sense of humor — or much sense at all, bloggers have discovered. By posting made-up articles on I-Newswire, a free press-release posting service, pranksters have discovered an easy way to get just about anything in the news.
It started when Richard Wiggins, an Internet news blogger, noticed that would-be presidential candidate Daniel Imperato was posting press releases announcing his opinion on events of the day and realized that I-Newswire would post just about anything. Then someone used it to falsely report that actor Will Ferrell had died in a “freak paragliding accident.” (Bloggers soon confirmed that Ferrell was alive and working on a movie set.) Next, a teenager claimed he had been hired by Google Research. After the fake news made the headlines on tech news website Digg.com,
the kid apologized.
Despite the widely reported gaffes, Google News still carried press releases from I-Newswire as of Wednesday morning.