A very modern Christmas carolPosted on
Twas the night before Christmas (well, it was about 3pm on Christmas Eve) as an email came into our inbox from a client (representing a Premier League football player). It was a familiar modern tale: the Soccer Bible (a part of the Lad Bible online empire) had published an article that day claiming to contain the player’s “embarrassing Facebook posts from 2011”. The problem was – the posts had nothing to do with the player.
The article started by stating that the posts “had been found” (yes, indeed, these successful online media channels employ people to dredge social media sites for content, even if it means going back to 2011) and went on to compare the posts to Jamie Vardy’s 2011 offerings (which went viral and was reported across the internet and has even led to unofficial merchandise). The client’s annoyance on this occasion was not that he’d embarrassed himself. It was that the posts came from a fake Facebook account that had nothing to do with him. Upon review there were at least 6 fake pages on Facebook in his name.
To their credit the Sport Bible corrected their story: “We have now been informed that these posts were not done by [the player] and that they were done by an impersonator. We have since sent an apology to him”.
It’s very much a sign of the times that influential (and unregulated and inexperienced) online media companies are trawling the internet, and particularly social media, for content. The content is posted quickly and often goes viral even more quickly. Unsourced rumours and allegations can swiftly become accepted truths. Publications such as the Soccer and Lad Bible must take care though because, in the words of Jamie Vardy – “chat sh*t, get banged” …. or something like that.