News Outlets Fall For Parody That Took Credit For Brooklyn Bridge White Flags

Two prominent news outlets were fooled Tuesday by a Twitter parody account that claimed responsibility for replacing two American flags atop the Brooklyn Bridge with white flags.

@BicycleLobby, an account that makes fun of bicycle opponents from the perspective of a fake “all-powerful” cycling lobby, tweeted that it was responsible for the switch soon after photos of the white flags began to circulate on social media:

Both the Associated Press and the New York Daily News later ran stories linking the parody account to the mysterious flag replacement.

Below is the AP’s story as it was posted to CNBC.com:

Two Associated Press reporters also apparently requested comment from @BicycleLobby via Twitter and were referred to the account’s profile. @BicycleLobby acknowledges that it is a parody account in the second line of its Twitter profile and also describes itself as “an all-powerful enterprise,” channeling Wall Street Journal editorial board members Dorothy Rabinowitz’s memorable anti-bike share rant.

The Associated Press story posted to CNBC’s website was later updated without explanation to reflect that @BicycleLobby was a parody account. The reference to @BicycleLobby was also removed from the Daily News story without explanation.

Although the person or people behind @BicycleLobby apparently didn’t expect to be taken seriously, the parody account clearly relished its success in fooling the news outlets:

This post has been updated.

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