Marketplace has a new podcast for kids, "Million Bazillion!" EPISODE OUT NOW

The case of Apple screws

Marc Sanchez Aug 14, 2012

When it comes to news about Apple, there’s a weird megalomaniacal game that bloggers and tech journalists like to play. People seem to have scorecards to notch whenever they can report new news about the company. Case in point: a story about an “asymmetric screw,” new hardware that Apple was reportedly creating for the new iPhone so people couldn’t open the backs of their phones. The whole story was fake made up by the Swedish advertising firm Day4 – a test, in fact, to turn a mirror towards salivating Apple junkies.
Here’s how a post on Day4’s site explains it:

One afternoon we sketched out a screw in our 3D program, a very strange screw where the head was neither a star, tracks, pentalobe or whatever, but a unique form, also very impractical. We rendered the image, put it in an email, sent it to ourselves, took a picture of the screen with the mail and anonymously uploaded the image to the forum Reddit with the text ”A friend took a photo a while ago at that fruit company, they are obviously even creating their own screws .”

Half a day later the “news item” started showing up on blogs but with a certain degree of skepticism. Comments on articles, however, tended to treat the news as legit. And when the average Joe decided to tweet or post something about the new screws to Facebook, they tended to be talking in facts. Day4 says it was trying to get a handle on the question: “How much of what we read on the Internet today is really true?

We’re here to help you navigate this changed world and economy.

Our mission at Marketplace is to raise the economic intelligence of the country. It’s a tough task, but it’s never been more important.

In the past year, we’ve seen record unemployment, stimulus bills, and reddit users influencing the stock market. Marketplace helps you understand it all, will fact-based, approachable, and unbiased reporting.

Generous support from listeners and readers is what powers our nonprofit news—and your donation today will help provide this essential service. For just $5/month, you can sustain independent journalism that keeps you and thousands of others informed.