A graphics firm has proven how easy it is to start an Apple rumour and have it reported by the world's mainstream tech press.
... By inventing a screw.
Apprently on a whim, the Swedish company Day 4 decided to start a rumour that Apple had invented a new asymmetrical screw for use in its latest iPhone.
The story went that Apple had invented the new screw in an attempt to stop customers opening up the device.
The rumour quickly went viral - the only problem being it had no basis in truth.
"One afternoon we sketched out a screw in our 3D program, a very strange screw where the head was neither a star, tracks, pentalobe or whatever, but a unique form, also very impractical," Day 4 said.
"We rendered the image, put it in an email, sent it to ourselves, took a picture of the screen with the mail and anonymously uploaded the image to the forum Reddit with the text ”A friend took a photo a while ago at that fruit company, they are obviously even creating their own screws ".
"Then we waited".
Within twelve hours the news had been reported on by several tech blogs and mainstream websites, including Cult of Mac, Wired and Macworld.
(As far as we can tell, Huffington Post UK didn't pick up on the rumour… But we are happy to be proven wrong.)
What Day 4 found was that despite the news sites and blogs maintaining scepticism in their pieces, the readiness to believe the rumour went up the greater the distance from the source.
Whiile the blogs were sceptical, and commenters continued to question the image, on Facebook and Twitter it was treated virtually as truth.
Day 4 apologised to anyone who felt "cheated", but said the prank had revealed a "larger truth" about the way rumours spread online:
"We must become more critical of what we read and think ‘Is this reasonable? ” or ”What’s the origin for this information? ”Because it is not the last time any of this data will be upon us."