Fake Case Study Becomes Real News

By John Honovich, Published Jul 29, 2022, 10:25am EDT

A manufacturer published a fake case study leading an Australian trade magazine to run it as an actual news story, without doing any due diligence.

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This underscores a fundamental problem of trade magazine "journalism" (or lack thereof of doing journalism). Publications take press releases or case studies and try to pass them off as reporting.

While fake case studies are rare, that companies will embellish, distort or exaggerate in their case studies is commonplace. After all, these are marketing products of manufacturers, not attempts at thorough news reporting or analysis.

However, news or research organizations have the responsibility to vet the accuracy of the claims parties makes. The Australian magazine acknowledged they made no attempt to verify it with the manufacturer or even simply googling to see if this entity even existed.

"Erehwon" Tower / Nowhere

An IPVM subscriber first discovered this early this week, posting "Is This Case Study From ICT Entirely Made Up?" about a case study for "Erewhon Tower":

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Search results for "erewhon tower' do not return anything close to such a tower.

The subscriber also pointed out that the tower shown by the manufacturer was pulled from a stock image site: contrast below:

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Finally, "erehwon" is backwards for "nowhere".

Nonetheless, earlier this week, SEN ran this as an article:

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After the IPVM discussion prompted the manufacturer (ICT) to take action, SEN deleted the fake news, with a post titled "The Mystery of Erehwon Tower":

ICT contacted us multiple times to point out our mistake and to offer us any one of their thousands of other applications but we are unwell with Covid, isolating in the country with a sick child, and it took us half a day to get the story down.

It is not much mystery, though it is unfortunate, that publications copy and paste marketing material, without any attempt at verification or news reporting.

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