Twitter hoax Tomasso De Benedetti says he will do it again
Twitter campaigns are a staple in online marketing, but what happens when people confuse fact from fiction?
That's the question serial hoaxer Tommaso De Benedetti wants people to ask the next time they read an update on Twitter.
In an interview with the Guardian (March 30), the man who falsely tweeted that the Pope was dead, has finally come clean.
"Social media is the most unverifiable information source in the world but the news media believes it because of its speed," he said.
Mr De Benedetti, a schoolteacher in Rome, is considered one of the world's most successful fake tweeters.
It was also the first in a line of death tweets about well known identities including Cuba's controversial political leader Fidel Castro and Spanish film director Pedro Almodovar.
De Benedetti's tweet about Pope Benedict went viral on the social media site and was picked up by a number of Italian newspapers.
Fake posts from Syrian President Bashar Assad were even published by The Guardian.
When asked why he announced fake deaths on Twitter, he said that the media platform "works well for deaths" before further explaining the limitations of false updates on other forums.
"On Facebook you are limited by access to 'friends', but on Twitter you can be sure people will follow you and it is being used as a real-time source of information without checks."
But despite his notoriety in the Twittersphere Mr De Benedetti would have you believe that he is just a normal person.
The father and educator said that his intention was not to cause any emotional harm or distress, but simply to "see how weak the media was in Italy".
It is arguable that De Benedetti's problem with the media goes beyond real-time sourcing on the web.
After all, this is the man who had fake interviews with 'it' personalities John Grisham, Arthur Miller and Gore Vidal among others published as fact in the local press.
Posted by Aimee McBride