Study linking browser choice and IQ level a hoax

Aug 04, 2011 by Bob Yirka report
Internet Explorer logo

In a truly bizarre case of what is both right and wrong with modern technology, a hoax has been uncovered regarding a story about a psychometric consulting company that had supposedly undertaken a study correlating IQ levels to choice of browser.

The bogus report claimed that users of ’s line of browsers scored lower on IQ tests than those for virtually all other browsers. Now it turns out, the whole thing was completely made up by someone claiming to be Tarandeep Gill.

The story appeared fishy to many readers of the report who then began to do a little digging. Another site, Central Test, was found that appeared to have ties to the first, going so far as to use the same photographs for supposed employees of the company. Further research showed that the AptiQuant site, the original source of the “study” had appeared on the internet just about the same time as the IQ/ story broke.

It appears leading news organizations around the world were duped by the perpetuator of this , including the BBC, Forbes and CNN. Also, it should be noted that it appears that the Central Test site was a victim itself, as it appears Mr. Gill, if that is indeed his real name, simply copied information and pictures from that site and presented them as his own.

Now that the hoax has been uncovered, the AptiQuant site has updated its About Us page and freely admits to the hoax and offers an explanation of how it got started and
why.

Mr. “Gill” (who says he’s from Toronto Canada, not San Francisco) says it was all born out of frustration with the worldwide Internet Explorer user community who have been clinging steadfastly to outdated versions of the venerable browser, causing him difficulty in creating his website, AtCheap.com, that would support virtually anyone who visited. He claims it was not a “cheap publicity stunt” but an “honest” attempt to push such users away from IE browsers to those he considered a better choice for everyone.

He adds that he sent out the press release in hopes of attracting as much attention as possible, but was surprised himself at the amount of press that was received, and suggests it happened because other people felt as he did. He concludes by apologizing to Central Test for stealing their copy and photos and to those Internet Explorer users who felt insulted by both how he worded his press release and for implying they were less intelligent than other people.

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User comments : 22

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Ferris
4.8 / 5 (19) Aug 04, 2011
i love how this has exposed modern journalism for what it is. Nobody checks their facts before going to press.
Nikola
4.3 / 5 (18) Aug 04, 2011
Still kinda funny. Even though it's a hoax it may be at least partially true.
Zenmaster
4.6 / 5 (10) Aug 04, 2011
All effective hoaxes (or rumors) must necessarily be perceived to have some degree of plausibility. Isn't that what the perpetrators exploit?
frajo
1 / 5 (2) Aug 04, 2011
He concludes by apologizing to Central Test for stealing their copy and photos and to those Internet Explorer users who felt insulted by both how he worded his press release and for implying they were less intelligent than other people.


Someone seems to not have understood either the meaning of statistical data or the meaning of the word "imply".
IscopeU
2 / 5 (4) Aug 04, 2011
Wait, there where people who took it seriously? Geez...
hyongx
3 / 5 (6) Aug 04, 2011
Microsoft = big brother. If you don't like the facts, change them.
Y8Q412VBZP21010
1 / 5 (1) Aug 04, 2011
Oh, color me surprised.
krundoloss
3 / 5 (4) Aug 04, 2011
Why is this guy hating on Internet Explorer? Ofcourse people use it, its DEFAULT! Also, when people create web applications for businesses, government websites, etc, they all program for Internet Explorer. Its not about whats better, its whats STANDARD. Thats why we arent all using MAC computers right now.
Moebius
3.7 / 5 (9) Aug 04, 2011
What's funny is it's probably true anyway.
that_guy
5 / 5 (3) Aug 04, 2011
i love how this has exposed modern journalism for what it is. Nobody checks their facts before going to press.

The main reason we know that this was a hoax because the BBC fact checked it and reported their findings. It may have been after their first report, but at least they went back and did some digging. So now you know where you really can get fair and balanced news...or at least news that consists of facts and truths.
sherriffwoody
5 / 5 (3) Aug 04, 2011
Microsoft = big brother. If you don't like the facts, change them.

Microsoft = Apples Little Brother & Googles Little Brother
Microsoft != biggest brother anymore
Silverhill
5 / 5 (4) Aug 04, 2011
krundoloss:
Why is this guy hating on Internet Explorer? Ofcourse people use it, its DEFAULT! Also, when people create web applications for businesses, government websites, etc, they all program for Internet Explorer. Its not about whats better, its whats STANDARD.
It's [note punctuation] NOT standard; it's simply preponderant. IE has been "standards-resistant" for many years now, using their huge market share to try to enforce the use of Microsoft's own standards. Not W3C (global) standards, you should note.
Many Web developers detest IE, because to create a website that (nearly) everyone can see requires that they write two sets of code for the site: one for IE, and one for everyone else. This should not be necessary, obviously.
PS3
3 / 5 (4) Aug 04, 2011
Please switch to Firefox if you're using IE,it's far better!!
Pete1983
5 / 5 (2) Aug 05, 2011
@PS3 - If you're using IE, switch to anything! It's far better.

Personally I use an abacus to browse the internet these days. Way better than IE.
pokerdice1
1 / 5 (1) Aug 05, 2011
Microsoft makes shit, pure and simple (except the Xbox) maybe this was in order.
Silverhill
not rated yet Aug 05, 2011
The story appeared fishy to many readers of the report who then began to do a little digging.
It did not appear fishy to the PhysOrg writers, apparently. Note that this article does not contain something like "PhysOrg was among those taken in by this story; we regret having helped disseminate it."
ScienceLust
not rated yet Aug 05, 2011
Switching to Firefox today.<----
kkroy
5 / 5 (1) Aug 05, 2011
The study may be a hoax, but in my opinion it stumbled upon a truth.
Quarky1
not rated yet Aug 06, 2011
Anyone else catch what time the funeral is? Who died, you ask? Why, it was Journalistic Integrity and Responsibility, that's what died. The stink that it's dead body is currently making is what is now permeating the airwaves. :-P
Quarky1
not rated yet Aug 06, 2011
In all fairness, the reason for this perceived imbalance in IQ correlating to browser use, may be this (speaking as a person who supported office computer networks for 12 years): Those who are either unwilling or unable to adapt to the new computerized world are unlikely to either update their browser, switch to a new one, or even use their computer at all. This also explains how AOL stays in business, my grandma still uses their horrible browser, which is a crippled version of IE that they wrapped in shameless bloatware and adware.
Objectivist
not rated yet Aug 07, 2011
The best lies are half-truths. I have to say I got suspicious when I read that Opera had the smartest users. That didn't make any sense at all.
Skepticus_Rex
1 / 5 (2) Aug 07, 2011
Want to see how compliant to comprehensive standards your web browser might be?

See the following:

http://acid3.acidtests.org/

http://html5test.com/

The results might surprise you...or not. :)