Content at the Speed of Culture
In the summer of 2012, as a fierce copyright battle between Apple and Samsung raged on and not long before the introduction of the much anticipated iPhone 5, rumors began to surface about a new asymmetric screw Apple had developed that would make it more difficult for hackers to open and explore the inner workings of its products. Word of the device first appeared on social news site reddit, which included a three-dimensional mockup of the protective piece of hardware (Figure 15.1). Within 12 hours, stories began to show up on Yahoo!, Macworld, and Wired along with a video on YouTube.
The screw itself never materialized. That is because Day4, a now-defunct motion graphics company out of Stockholm, Sweden, had posted the information as a hoax to see how rumors spread online.1 Because Apple has a strict policy about keeping its product plans secret, the company made no attempt to respond, but that didn't stop Apple watchers. Although some tech journalists had reservations about the authenticity of the report, many commentators ran with it, as did the social communities. According to Day4 spokesperson at the time, Lukasz Lindell, “On Twitter, numerous posts raged about the issue. On YouTube, people made video blogs about the new screw. Google+ talked about it page after page” (Figure 15.2). Lindell later apologized ...