Internet Explorer IQ Study Was An Elaborate Hoax

A ‘so-called’ study that linked a user’s browser choice to his IQ [intelligence quotient] and concluded that Internet Explorer users were not as smart as those using other Web browsers is apparently fake and was an elaborate hoax, according to the person that initially made it viral.

It has now emerged that the company’s domain name and website were only recently set up and staff images were lifted from a legitimate French business in Paris. Thumbnail images of the firm’s staff on the website also matched those on the site of French research company Central Test, although many of the names had been changed.

Two days after the study was widely circulated in media across the world, a computer programmer named Tarandeep Gill, the person behind the hoax wrote on, “There is no company called AptiQuant, and no such survey was ever done“.

He further added, “The main purpose behind this hoax was to create awareness about the incompatibilities of IE6, and not to insult or hurt anyone.

Earlier, AptiQuant had claimed that it surveyed over 1 lakh Web users and found that Opera users were smartest while IE users “have a below than average IQ score.

So, frustrated with Internet Explorer, I went on to create a meme that would result in some awareness and hopefully convince a few Web users to stop using IE 6,” Gill wrote on AptiQuant. “But what’s really funny is that everybody took the report so seriously, with comments like ‘Oh did we need such a study, we already knew that,” wrote Gill.

You may want to call the person behind the ‘fake survey‘ a liar, but I don’t see it being as much about lying as it is about being a case of very good viral marketing combined with the media’s eagerness to pick up shocking and popular stories without fact checking them first.

But perhaps it was a test after all. If you follow any publications that wrote this story up last week and haven’t yet corrected it, you might ask them where they send their journalists for training.

In short, you may not want to believe anything this study claimed… still the stereotype of backward IE users continues to proliferate and Microsoft will certainly hope to reverse the trends once they release IE 9.


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