Fake social media accounts are nothing new in the world of sports. Heck, even some players use them.
As a result, there have been numerous occasions where the media and/or fans have been duped by a fake account into thinking that it’s real.
We’ve seen a fake Buster Olney Twitter account get taken seriously, as well as a fake Jay Glazer Twitter account, and others over the years.
However, at least in those cases, the person on Twitter was actually pretending to be someone who, you know, reports actual sports news.
Unlike a report that several CBS affiliates believed this week when the Twitter account of fake news reporter “Richard G. West” broke the “story” of Colgate player Jordan Burns.
The account, which claims is for the #1 Breaking News Reporter in South Knoxville and Vice President of the Southeastern Sports Foundation, tweeted, “After the Colgate Basketball team arrived in Columbus, OH they noticed they left a player at the airport in New York. Freshman Jordan Burns missed the charter flight and is now taking a Uber to Columbus to meet up with the team.”
Here’s how the story read on CBS New York, thanks to totally ethical news-scraper site Boston Informer…
(CBS New York/CBS Local) — Colgate sophomore guard Jordan Burns made it to the the airport for the team’s charter flight to its first-round NCAA Tournament game. But he didn’t make it onto the plane. And the team didn’t notice until they landed.
So now the sophomore guard is taking an Uber from Hamilton, New York to Columbus, Ohio, where his 15th-seeded Raiders will take on the second-seeded Tennessee Volunteers. The 512-mile trip, under normal driving conditions, should take about eight hours. The game is scheduled for Friday, March 22 at 2:45 ET.
Burns is a key part of a Colgate team hoping for an upset and a little more March madness. He’s averaging 15.8 points and 5.8 assists per game this season. Colgate won the Patriot League tournament, securing their place in the South Region of…
Hold up. How did they know that he made it to the airport? Nowhere in the tweet was that mentioned. Hmmmmm…
Even Burns’ mom thought the story might be real, reports Mike Wilson of the real Knoxville News-Sentinel…
Colgate guard Jordan Burns was in Ohio on Wednesday just as he was supposed to be.
Then his mom called.
“She was like, ‘Wow, I know if you would have missed this flight I know you would have picked up the phone and called me, right?’” Burns said Thursday. “I was, like, ‘Yeah, Mom, I’m in the hotel and things like that.'”
“I had a lot of little messages like, ‘Did you not make it?’ Like, ‘Wow, they left you? Really? Like, that’s crazy. After everything you’ve done,’” Burns added. “People are telling me all this stuff. It’s funny. But it’s just a fake tweet. It’s really hysterical.”
No, what’s hysterical is that any legitimate news outlet would believe that tweet to begin with when you take a look at some of Richard G. West’s other “breaking news.”
Okay, I kind of do believe that last one.