Wendi Deng Twitter account Fake, Associated Press Corrects, Guardian Unpublishes

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@Wendi_Deng confirmed that the account is not really Wendi Deng, the wife of Rupert Murdoch.

Over the weekend, two high-profile Twitter accounts garnered a good bit of attention — @RupertMurdoch and @Wendi_Deng.

However, only one of those is a real account — Rupert Murdoch’s.  The News Corp CEO joined Twitter Dec. 31, as we wrote, but, his wife, Wendi Deng, is not behind the @Wendi_Deng account.

The account was revealed as a parody Jan. 3. But the news that the account is a phony sparked a couple of problems:

1) News outlets that reported on the account based on the fake tweets had to correct or update their posts.
2) Twitter had verified the account, making it appear as if the account was a real account for Deng.

The Guardian’s Lisa O’Carroll and Josh Halliday published an interview with the person behind the @Wendi_Deng account.  According to the Guardian, the @Wendi_Deng account was created Jan. 1.  The Guardian added that News International confirmed the @Wendi_Deng account as real Jan. 2  until it said otherwise Jan. 3. News International said Jan. 3 “that the @Wendi_Deng Twitter account was fake, although the @rupertmurdoch account is genuine.”

According to the Guardian’s report, “someone able to tweet on the @Wendi_Deng account t said he was a British man living in London and had just set up the account for fun.”

On Jan. 3, the Twitter bio for @Wendi_Deng was updated to reflect that the account is a parody.

The person said he was “completely and utterly shocked” and “a little nervous” that Twitter marked the account officially Wendi Deng’s.    “I just couldn’t believe they would have verified such a high profile account without checking it out, but I absolutely received no communication from Twitter to the email address I used to register. If that’s their security process for high profile users, then I do think they need to rethink it urgently,” the person is quoted as saying.

In a tweet in response to@DHaman, the tweeter behind @Wendi_Deng denied being an employee of the Guardian.  In another tweet, the person denied being Jonnie Marbles, the man who threw a pie in Rupert Murdoch’s face during July 2011’s Parliamentary hearings. The person also commended “those of you who kept maintaining the account was fake, even after being verified.”

Guardian Unpublishes

The Guardian unpublished a Jan. 2 story about tweets from the Twitter account @Wendi_Deng after the account was revealed to be a spoof.  According to a note in place of the article, the Guardian wrote in part:

“This article was deleted on 3 January 2012 after a News International spokeswoman said that the @wendi_deng Twitter account was fake.”

The Guardian also included a link to this article by the Guardian, in which the Guardian reports on the hoax.

(Hat Tip: Adam Clark Estes Via Craig Silverman )

Associated Press corrects

The Associated Press issued a Jan. 3 correction about reports saying Deng had joined Twitter. The correction, see here, reads in part:

“In a Jan. 2 story about media mogul Rupert Murdoch’s activities on Twitter, The Associated Press erroneously reported that his wife Wendi had joined the micro-blogging site under the name “wendi-deng.” The San Francisco-based Twitter Inc. had initially marked the account as genuine, but later said it was a fake.”

Twitter Verification

Twitter had verified the account temporarily before it was proven fake.  According to the Guardian, Twitter issued a statement after the account’s uncovering.

“We don’t comment on our verification process but can confirm that the @wendi_deng account was mistakenly verified for a short period of time. We apologise for the confusion this caused.”

UPDATE: 1/5/2012: 8:45 AM EST: See here All Things D’s Kara Swisher’s report “The Case of the Unfortunate Underscore: How Twitter Verified the Fake Wendi over the Real Wendi.”

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Wendi Deng Twitter account Fake, Associated Press Corrects, Guardian Unpublishes

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