The Sony Nexus X was revealed last week as a device possibly in the works from Google, that is of course in addition to the LG Nexus 4, which was getting preliminary review before its official launch. It turns out that the Sony Nexus X story is a fake, the thing is it’s actually not that uncommon for a photo to be revealed as a fake but what is unusual is the person taking responsibility for the photo to come forward and call out the technology journalist community.
Ti Kawamoto says that he was just a graphic designer who was practicing his 3D modeling skills by putting together a concept of a Sony Nexus device. He put together blog called Anatomy of a Hoax set up (and even a Twitter account) in which he describes very neatly his motivation, his approach and exactly how the web reacted following the story as it grew. If you’re wondering what his motivation was, there are three:
- He wanted to test his 3D modeling skills
- he wanted to see exactly how such a hoax spreads
- Finally, he wanted to show Sony how much desire technology enthusiasts had for a Sony Nexus handset.
The fake was really well done as it slipped past the Photoshop test, because it wasn’t completely created in Photoshop and had none of the normal markers. The images were 3D renders, made with Blender 2.63, of the device superimposed on real images of Ti’s desk. Ti said that the most important thing in creating the model was to know his audience, and therefore the minutia of design from both Sony and Nexus devices. Ti even bumped up the realism of the image by adding in scuff marks and scratches, to make it really look like a beat up prototype.
That being said the photos were only online for 16 hours before the XperiaBlog picked it up at 9:30AM. By 10, the story was starting to pick up steam by 10:30 the Verge had it 11 Gizmodo and on and on. At the end of it, a Google News search for “Sony Nexus X” came up with 521 articles, and a general web search came up with 90,000 sites referencing the news. But, here’s the really embarrassing part: at no point during that time did any news site (including us) even attempt to contact Ti, or rather the pseudonym used on the Picasa account, a one Mutul Yeter.
That’s a big failure not only for us but for the community at large. We’re often so focused on getting stories up that we don’t bother to check them like we would when we’re the ones hearing rumors in real life first hand. It’s a weird double standard that clearly needs to change. The egg on everyone’s face over this story hopefully will make everyone more cautious.
What is going to make things even more interesting from this point forward is that since he’s gone into detail about how he made his photos so convincing others are likely to follow. Do you have blender and photoshop? Will you be putting his methods to the test to see if you too can create your own internet sensation?