If you thought the web was weird before, you’re in for something of a rude awakening, peeps. You know how you could never be absolutely sure whether that news story you read was real or an April Fools joke? Or if it was a deliberate plant to get you to believe the ridiculous? Well now there’s a new service which lets anyone, yes anyone, create their own fake online news or feature story, using a clone of any major site like the BBC, CNN or the NY Times. Scary?
Clone Zone works very simply. Just find a suitable news story you want to clone, say from the BBC, then drop the link into the Clone Zone box. The app then recreates the exact page layout, but with one difference. You can actually edit all the text and images on the page.
Within a few minutes anyone can craft a completely official looking news piece which can even include their own author byline. What makes it even more scary is the fact that it’s so easy to do. You can select images from a sidebar search function, and leave other elements in place to give it more authenticity.
Sure, most of the uses will be harmless enough, with pranks, funster family stuff and suchlike most of the time, but imagine the potential for abuse, with investors being duped by fake stories, or other more sinister options. Imagine you couple it with a fake Facebook Status Generator, throw in a bit of a bogus Twitter storm and even add some private phone text messages and you’re done.
The possibilities are endless. Let’s see how long the site can stay up. The developers have said it’s an art project, which is interesting. Gonna grab some popcorn, be right back.