Ex-"New York Times" Editor Bill Keller And The Fake Wikileaks Op-Ed

Yesterday, a link to an opinion piece by former New York Times editor Bill Keller was all over Twitter. Turns out it was a prank that fooled even the paper's lead tech writer. [Updated]

Via: opinion-nytimes.com

Last night, a link began wending its way around Twitter: http://www.opinion-nytimes.com/2012/07/29/opinion/keller-a-post-postscript.html. It purported to be an op-ed by Bill Keller, former New York Times editor-in-chief and current Op-Ed columnist, defending Wikileaks and Julian Assange.

It was such a provocative, counter-intuitive position for typically Assange-hating Keller to take — a veritable #slatepitch — that it made sense for Jeff Jarvis, Glenn Greenwald and others to pick up. In the biggest coup for the pranksters, Nick Bilton, the Times' lead tech writer, tweeted out the story last night, lending perhaps the most credence to the piece.

Unfortunately, everyone should have looked at both the link and the story a little closer: the domain name was off. Also, while the page looks pretty good, the op-ed itself is a bit dicey. Take the final line:

Via: opinion-nytimes.com

The Grey Lady would never name a book without putting quotation marks around it! And it turns out that the subject of the fake op-ed, a supposed turnaround in Pay Pal's stance on blocking Wikileaks payments, is also a ruse. Another link, this one to a Pay Pal blog responding to the fake op-ed, also has a tell-tale wrong domain.

One the first to recognize these hoaxes was privacy researcher Chris Soghoian, who called out Bilton for tweeting the false link.

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