Web hoax fools news services: S.F. man fakes beheading, proves need for verification

For almost an hour Saturday morning, the Associated Press reported that a 22-year-old San Francisco man, Benjamin Vanderford, had been beheaded in Iraq. The report of Vanderford’s death was based on a 55-second video clip that Vanderford and two friends had faked and distributed via the Internet. The story also was picked up by the Reuters news service, and the grainy video was broadcast by two Middle Eastern television stations.

In an interview with The Chronicle hours later, two of the three filmmakers responsible for the clip said they had never expected it to be disseminated so widely, and they blamed the mass media for publicizing the stunt without making sure that the video was genuine.

Web hoax fools news services: S.F. man fakes beheading, proves need for verification  (SFGate.com)