HuffPost, CNN, Mediaite fall for fake Twitter account of NC governor

The Huffington Post rather embarrassingly fell for a fake Twitter account and wrote a story yesterday about one of its tweets.

This is but the latest in the long running saga of hoax tweets being taken for real by news organizations. (Remember Piers Morgan getting suspended?)

This time HuffPost was fooled by a tweet from a fake account purportedly belonging to North Carolina Governor Bev Perdue. Here's the tweet in question:

The tweet references Gov. Perdue's statement that the recently-adopted ban on gay marriage makes her state "look like Mississippi." Here's the resulting correction, which was placed atop the story about the tweet and spotted by Politico's Dylan Byers late yesterday afternoon:

CORRECTION: This story embarrassingly took Bev Perdue's spoof Twitter account at face value -- here is her real one -- to produce the following:

The "following" being the original story that mistook the fake tweet as real.

The person at HuffPost who wrote the story clearly didn't spend any time checking the recent tweets from the account. (The account is, of course, unverified.) For example, would a governor really have sent this tweet:

Or talk about her state's lieutenant governor (and current gubernatorial candidate) this way:

The person(s) behind the fake account apparently found the whole thing very funny, as they tweeted about HuffPost falling for their antics. They also called out another news organization that took the tweet for real:

Here's the CNN mistake in question:

@CNNPoliticsDesk appears to have deleted the offending tweet, and I didn't see anything resembling a correction on its timeline.

Mediaite was also fooled by the fake account. It updated its story with an apology:

We sincerely apologize for the inaccurate report. We would have preferred to rely on Twitter’s verification system, but even that has become a less-than-reputable measure of an individual’s existance [sic], given that Twitter has been verifying fake accounts (like Dallas’ J.R. Ewing) and Gov. Perdue’s real account remains unverified.

You can avoid making this same mistake by consistently following some best practices in verifying information on social media.

Correction: This post included a misspelling of North Carolina as "North Carlina."

  • Craig Silverman

    Craig Silverman ( is an award-winning journalist and the founder of Regret the Error, a blog that reports on media errors and corrections, and trends regarding accuracy and verification.


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