Fake Steve Jobs, a.k.a. Forbes' Daniel Lyons. Both were repeated on a number of blogs. Yes, we know who Fake Steve is now, and yes he's a credible reporter working for a respected publication, but bear in mind that these stories were reported with no sources and on the blog of a fictional character. Yet, they were taken at face value by a number of prominent bloggers.There are not one, but two stories on Techmeme this morning broken by
The first story Lyon's "broke" was about the supposed imminent demise of PodTech. "Well, they've had a good run but apparently the Casa de Scoble is heading for the big sleep," wrote Lyons. "Or is it the dirt nap? I can never remember. No announcement yet but we hear it's imminent." It was picked up by TechCrunch, Valleywag and others and repeated as if the original source was, well, Lyons and not his fictional persona (the one that just released a book).
PodTech VP Robert Scoble responded this morning by ripping into the reports as "total, 100% bull####. Not even deserving of a response."
The other major story Fake Steve "reported" on was a rumored $500 million investment in Facebook by a pair of hedgefunds. Oh wait, I mean "Faceberg" and "hedgetards." At IP Democracy they ran the story with the text, "Despite the satirical nature of the blog, this looks real." Certainly, of the two "scoops" Lyons issued through his persona, this is probably the more credible given that rumors of an additional investment in Facebook from VCs or hedgefunds alongside Microsoft have been floating around since before the deal was announced yesterday. Further, Lyons' colleague Elizabeth Corcoran repeated the rumor on a Forbes blog this morning (though it is unclear whether she has her own sources, or her source is Fake Steve...).
Even if the Facebook investment rumor pans out, since when is a fictional persona who appends the suffix "tard" to just about every other word a credible source? Even if the voice behind Fake Steve is a real reporter, it doesn't seem wise to report rumors that emanate from his blog as if they're coming from Lyons and not his character. If Lyons has real news to report, he should be responsible in his reporting and use Forbes (or the Forbes tech blog) as his outlet. His fictional persona is just that, a fictional persona, and anything it says should be taken with about as much salt as an ocean.