Saturday, January 12, 2019

Academic Hoax II

After a massive federal investigation lasting two years and costing the taxpayers millions of dollars, it was revealed today that the popular social media site, LinkedOut, was actually a hoax perpetrated by two history professors at Enema U.  Investigators revealed that though the company was supposedly a publicly traded organization, in reality there were only two stockholders, and the company had no actual revenue and no employees. 

Though millions of users all over the world were signed onto the service in hopes of securing job references or actual employment offers, there is no evidence that anyone ever secured an actual job by using the service.  Worse, there was no evidence that any potential employer had even visited the site, much less read the artificially constructed elaborate work histories of the users.

When questioned, the two professors, Dr. Holland and Dr. Adams, explained that the service started out as a practical joke against a colleague.  Both were genuinely surprised when the service ‘went viral’.

As Dr. Holland explained, “Originally, it was just a joke we were playing on old Dr. Matray.  The senile bastard just sat in his office all day avoiding students and writing us hate mail, so we came up with a way to inundate him with requests for reference letters.  For weeks, we would sit around at the end of the day and make up fake names and ask him to join “our professional network”.  Then, we noticed that a few of the students were joining.”

“For the first year, the only people using the service to find a new job were Liberal Arts majors and former White House employees.  Then we noticed that people we had never heard of were asking to link with us.”

“But, then it really snowballed,” Dr. Holland continued.  “Everyone was taking it seriously, despite the fact that the whole idea was stupid.  We knew we had lost control when half the inmates at the local prison signed up as ‘security consultants’.”

When investigators started looking into the service, there were numerous warning signs, one of which was that the service was completely ignored by the world’s hackers, and the server had never been breached by a single foreign government.

"It was obvious that no one was interested in it," commented one federal investigator.  "The security on the site was total crap, but no one even tried to hack it.  I've seen the Chinese hack the webpages of a retirement home for school cafeteria workers, but they couldn't have cared less about LinkedOut.  Hell, the master login password was the word ‘password’.  The only mention of LinkedOut we could find in Russia was a small review in a computer magazine that listed it as the world’s worst dating service.”

When investigators showed up at the university, it took some time to locate the server hosting the fraudulent service. 

“When we questioned Dr. Adams about the secret location of the server, he claimed it was on public display and that everyone knew about it.  In actuality, we found it in a darkened corner of the basement of the history building, in an abandoned lavatory.  The sign on the door said, ‘Beware of the leopard’.”

This is not the first practical joke involving Professor Holland that has gotten nationwide attention.  A decade ago, Dr. Holland, now a finalist for the position of Provost at Enema U, gained notoriety for a hoax involving a biography of a bogus American President.  Even today, many history books still refer to the fictitious President Benjamin Harrison.

Despite the fact that the service is obviously a fraud, Federal authorities have decided not to shut down the site. 

"The deceptions of the LinkedOut Service are nothing compared to the lies told by the users," said one investigator, who wished to remain anonymous.  "For fun, we followed individual users across all of their social media sites.  On LinkedOut, they were dedicated and highly skilled workers.  On FaceBook, their boss was an idiot who didn’t appreciate their suggestions.  On Twitter, they were drunk in a bathtub.  Their Instagram account showed new body piercings while SnapChat had a photo of what their dog left on the neighbor’s lawn.  Compared to the users, these two professors are angels.” 

"It's not like the people involved would have been doing anything useful.  If they hadn’t been lying on this site, they would have just been posting more cat videos."

1 comment:

  1. Social media is a plot to suck up your time and get you to produce content for obscenely low pay. The primary use I find for it is keeping track of new posts from my favorite bloggers and to incessantly promote my own blogs which earn me about 2 thousandths of a cent per word which is the going rate for freelance writing work on Upworks. With the changes in the publishing industry, a lot more writers are being published, but for rates that would have embarrassed a depression era pulp magazine publisher. These days the Internet provides a lot of entertainment value for bored intellectuals and angry members of the proletariat. So I suppose it's a healthier outlet than booze and prostitutes.