Why a web developer orchestrated the "IE users are dumb" study hoax

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The Independent Tech

Web developer and entrepreneur Tarandeep Gill created an elaborate hoax under the guise of an online psychometric testing company called AptiQuant in a bid to stop people from using "outdated web browsers" such as IE 6.0.

Relaxnews, along with the BBC, CNN, NPR, Forbes, London's Daily Mail, Mashable and other online, print and TV-based news outlets were fooled into believing the study - which found Internet Explorer (IE) users had the lowest IQs amongst all internet browser users - was legitimate.

"Staff photos and information on the Aptiquant website - a fully developed portal that includes contact information, previous press releases and studies, and a supposed history of the company - appear to have been lifted from the website of a French Web development firm, Central Test," reported CNN after discovering the "scientific study" it had previously reported on was a hoax.

Tarandeep Gill also confessed to the stunt on the fake AptiQuant webpage, stating that "this was all meant to be a lighthearted joke."

"There is no company called AptiQuant, and no such survey was ever done," he said.

Gill added, "The main purpose behind this hoax was to create awareness about the incompatibilities of IE6 and how it is pulling back innovation."

Microsoft has previously launched its own campaign to encourage users to upgrade from the 10-year-old IE6 to a more modern browser, comparing the browser to "spoiled milk" and urging users to upgrade to IE8 for security reasons.

A separate website, http://www.ie6countdown.com/, shows how IE6 usage around the globe has dropped from 17.9 percent in 2010 to 9.7 percent in 2011.

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