Swedish media production company Day4 recently conducted an experiment on Internet media and the Apple community. They drew a screw with a special-patterned head and posted it anonymously via Reddit. It spread like wildfire.
Just some odd sites, you reckon? No. Try a search on “apple screw” and see for yourself which big names picked this up like almost everybody else. Since no further information existed, all of the commentary in the articles is extrapolated from thin air, with presumptions based on Apple’s actual past actions.
A phrase like “Apple May Be Working On A Top Secret Asymmetric Screw To Lock You Out Of Your Devices Forever” doesn’t even hold up to very basic scrutiny. Disregarding the simplified misuse of the word asymmetrical, it’s not that hard to make/copy a tool for almost any screw head design, from scratch (either from plastic or a metal). Even if the whole thing were true, tools would have been produced very swiftly – regardless of any legalities (which would be a valid topic, considering the US DMCA legislation).
The group at Day4 created the following chart plotting the distance from the source versus the perceived level of truth. Nothing new there either from a psychological perspective, but it’s good to have these things pointed out every once in a while:
- don’t just believe everything you read/see (don’t just disbelieve either, that’s almost as invalid);
- journalists, and people pretending to be journalists, can be (and often are) very lazy;
- if you are a proper journalist, always do your job thoroughly (as others may not);
- and last but not least, building an image (as Apple has) of being seen to be capable of initiating this kind of idea is not super. Choices have consequences, always (often delayed) and the people making such decisions may not consider the long term.