In an interview with the BBC, comedian Graham Linehan explains why he created the Twitter rumour that Bin Laden was a fan of British comedy series The IT Crowd.
What started off as a joke quickly escalated into rumours that Bin Laden was discovered watching The IT Crowd when US special forces stormed his compound in Pakistan. Originally Graham Linehan, comedian, writer on The IT Crowd and creator of Father Ted said that he created the Twitter rumour as a social experiment to see how quickly unfounded rumours spread. He then admitted that infact he did it as a joke.
“I spread a story on Twitter that in some of the videos seized from his compound during the Navy Seals raid, Osama Bin Laden was watching my sitcom The IT Crowd. I did it to illustrate the lightning speed at which a rumour can circulate and mutate on Twitter.
Only joking! I did it because I thought it would be funny, but it did circulate and mutate really quickly so maybe there’s a good lesson for us here. I mean really, it’s scary what Twitter can do. You can’t get more offline than my mother, and even she said to my brother, the day after the story “broke”, “Did you hear about your brother and Osama?”
Within hours of his first tweet the internet was awash with rumours that Bin Laden was a fan and was discovered watching a pirate copy of the hit show when US forces raided his compound. The power of social media.. Watch what you tweet
You can read the full story on the BBC website here