Thursday, April 13

Journalists bought tooth phone hoax—then tacked on more fibs

Two attention-seeking artists lied to journalists about their project, based on the concept of a "tooth phone." The idea: an implant in a person's tooth could receive signals from a cell phone or MP3 player, and then vibrate the tooth, transmitting sound to the ear.

Sounds cool, so when the artists said it they were working on a prototype and intended to develop, it's not too surprising journalists jumped on the story. Fine.

What's annoying and disturbing is how many journalists bought it, and how many elaborated on the story, beyond what the artists said (assuming, that is, that they're now telling the truth about what lies, exactly, they fed to reporters).

OK, this isn't the biggest deal in the world. It's not Iraq or NSA wiretapping. But it's still annoying and disturbing that reporters aren't more skeptical, for one, and that they apparently invented details for this story.

Read more about the history of the hoax in Wired News. By the way, back in 2002, along with a bunch of other outlets, Wired News initially reported as real news. Now it's all over the internet—although someone did immediately take the reference to the tooth phone off the Wikipedia mobile phone page the day after the hoax-exposing article came out.


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