Outlets including Gizmodo UK, Venture Beat, and the Washington Times admitted being duped by an April Fools’ hoax within 24 hours of emailed requests from iMediaEthics for corrections.
Last week, iMediaEthics confirmed that several media outlets, including Venture Beat, Business Insider and the Washington Times were tricked by an April Fools’ Day joke. The prank came from the French mail service La Poste Group, which blogged that it was partnering with the French company Parrot to use drones to deliver newspapers. Parrot spokesperson Vanessa Loury told iMediaEthics that the drone newspaper delivery story was all a joke and that Parrot was surprised by the news outlets that were tricked.
Venture Beat’s March 30 story, “Ooh la la: French town says it will deliver daily newspapers by drone,” now has an update posted atop the article reading:
“[Update: This story did indeed turn out to be a hoax, which duped a number of publications as the blog posts were published three days prior to April Fools. Parrot declined to comment on requests for clarification.]”
Likewise, Gizmodo UK added an update to its story, “Drones Could Replace Eager Youths on Paper Routes,” disclosing that “Unfortunately, this looks like an early April Fools’ Day prank from Parrot.”
The Washington Times’ unpublished its story, “France tries out drones for newspaper delivery” and replaced it with an editor’s note. That editor’s note states:
“Editor’s Note: This entry was published inadvertently as part of an April 1 prank. The Washington Times regrets the error.”
Business Insider’s article, re-published on the San Francisco Chronicle‘s website, has since been updated to admit that the story was a hoax. The beginning of the story now reads:
“An earlier version of this story said that drones are about to go postal in Auvergne, a province in south central France. But unfortunately, it ended up being an April Fools’ Day joke.”