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.

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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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