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French Press Fall for Facebook Prank

Oct. 27 2008, Published 7:07 a.m. ET

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It turns out we aren't the only ones to have had the wool pulled over our eyes by a merry Facebook prankster.

Over in France, a minor controversy has erupted after a 28-year-old wannabe French politician named Arash Derambarsh joined an unofficial group called ePresident and ran for the position of "Facebook Worldwide president"—and won. The title, mind you, is totally meaningless—he may as well have proclaimed himself president of the "Spencer On The Hills Makes Me Throw Up in My Mouth" group—but that didn't stop a number of highly respected French media outlets from reporting that Derambarsh was in fact overseeing the operations of a multi-billion dollar corporation in France.

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It didn't take long for people with even a vague understanding of Facebook to figure out that the dude was being touted as president of an utterly powerless group, but by then Derambarsh was already a national celebrity. After French bloggers started calling bullshit, the mainstream press finally retracted the story, having learned a valuable lesson: Stop paying attention to the Internet.


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