We Fell for the Internet-Explorer-Users-Are-Stupid Hoax

The BBC says that the research firm that published the results is made up

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Update: The hoax's perpetrator, Tarandeep Gill, released a statement explaining why he did it. Apparently it's because he hates the old versions of Internet Explorer so much.

Last week several media outlets, including us, reported the results of an IQ study from the Canadian tech-research firm AptiQuant that showed that users of Internet Explorer were less intelligent than users of other web browsers (among other things). But the BBC News has concluded that AptiQuant and its research are a hoax.

According to the BBC, "the company's website was only recently set up and staff images were copied from a legitimate business in Paris." And a statistics professor at the University of Cambridge told the BBC that the study's "figures are implausibly low - and an insult to IE users." (AptiQuant claimed that users of Internet Explorer 6 had an average IQ of 82, the lowest in the study.) The BBC couldn't find anyone available for comment at AptiQuant, and our calls and emails this morning have not been returned. (We'll update if they are.) In addition to us, the story was picked up by us, the BBC, CNN, Yahoo, Forbes, the Daily Mail, and The Telegraph. That's obviously no excuse, though, and we regret the error.

For what it's worth, here's the email exchange we had with the fake company's fake CEO. Maybe the spelling and grammatical errors should have been a hint.

Dear Mr Dino Grandoni,

Thanks for your interest in our recently published study. Here are the answers to the questions you asked:

1. No, we were not really surprised by the results. And the reason we think behind this anomaly is the reluctance of people with a lower IQ to experinent with newer things. As our report mentioned that it was a hypothesis we tried to prove with this experinent.

2. Exact figures are as follows:
IE6: 82
IE7: 84.5
IE9: 91.4
IE8: 95.5
Firefox: 108.7
Chrome: 111.2
Safari: 113.5
IE with chrome frame: 123.1
Camino: 124.4
Opera: 126.5

Please do not hesitate to contact me directly on this email address if you have any further questions.


Leonard Howard 

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.