8 May 2013

A reminder on believing the Internet

I love how 4chan trolls still think this is funny. Of course, it’s still effective if you market this kind of dogshit to gullible paranoid forest-dwellers.

Recently, a buddy of my dad’s from college linked me to a highly entertaining article basically saying the Illuminati is responsible for the Boston bombings. (You know it’s gonna be good if it’s on “itsagodthingproductions777.com!”) I randomly picked one piece of evidence from the article to inquire on.

The whole investigation lasted about 20 minutes. I’ll spare you the gory details, but “Doc” (the author of the article) talks about this Joe Ametrano dude who supposedly uploaded a “tribute” video about the Sandy Hook massacre a month and 4 days before it happened. I took the liberty of investigating the timestamp claim.

I used the Wayback Machine to access the video’s page. Sifting through the page source I found a direct link to the thumbnail image on Vimeo’s CDN – which was never deleted despite the fact that the account and video have been. Using the Web Developer extension for Firefox, I viewed the image’s response headers. The good part:

Last-Modified: Mon, 17 Dec 2012 10:20:46 GMT

A video can’t be modified after it’s uploaded, and this image would have been generated seconds to minutes after the video went up.

So Joe Ametrano, a random gentleman 4chan decided to target for this pathetic spoof, is just an ordinary person who felt the need to create a tribute video after the fact.

In my professional opinion (I hold a degree in information security and forensics), this completely destroys that single piece of “evidence” in “Doc’s” article, and implicitly (assuming the other “evidence” was gathered in the same way) brings everything else he mentions into question.

This combined with the fact that 4chan trolling tactics like this are well known across the Internet leads me to rest comfortably in my opinion that conspiracy theories rarely, if ever, hold any water whatsoever.

I’m ashamed I even have to say this in 2013, and that I even devoted 20 minutes of my time to investigating this silliness, but remember kids, just because you read about it on the Internet, doesn’t mean it’s true.

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