A fake New York Times article supporting WikiLeaks reportedly written by former editor Bill Keller has spurred outrage online this week.
The fake op-ed article was entitled "Wikileaks, a Post Postscript," and offered a strong argument that despite opinions about Julian Assange, WikiLeaks needed to be supported and protected under the First Amendment.
The fake article was never actually published in The Times and it was not written by Kelller, but still made it onto a fake New York Times page and managed to cause an uproar.
Social media sites are being flooded with posts by angry readers who were fooled by the fake article.
"What was the reason for doing that," wrote one Twitter user, while another posted, "It is scary this fake information can move this fast online."
Even readers within the highly respected newspaper's editorial team believed the piece of writing to be real, and re-tweeted the article.
One of those reported duped by the false piece was Times' own tech writer Nick Bilton, who re-tweeted it to his 120,000 Twitter followers over the weekend, according to DigitalJournal.com.
It is unknown who is responsible for the fake article which was originally tweeted by an account under Bill Keller's name. It was later discovered that the Twitter account was also fake. The perpetrator was able to fool thousands by simply spoofing The Times' official website, as Storify.com explained.
"The page is designed just like a New York Times page, but you'll notice that the URL is wrong," Storify wrote. "The word 'opinion' precedes the 'nytimes.com' - the real URL for NYT is: nytimes.com/pages/opinion/i… Many phishing websites use words, preceding the 'official' URL as a way to spoof websites and mislead people. The fake website was incredibly intricate and well done, which helped the op-ed spread quickly."
Part of the fake article read:
"As those ofyou who have followed my turbulent relationship with WikiLeaks and its Guru-In-Chief Julian Assange know, I am first in line when it comes to distancing myself from his brand of transparency without government checks and balances. You don't have to embrace Assange as a kindred spirit to believe that what he did in publishing those cables falls under the protection of the First Amendment."