“Argentina blocks iPhone sales in bid to strengthen economy”, Apple Insider “reports”. The only problem? Today is ‘Dia de los Santos Inocentes‘ across Spanish-speaking countries, the local equivalent of April’s Fools. In other words, the information our friends and competitors at Apple Insider took seriously is nothing but a joke.
As many successful hoaxes, the story had elements which made it somewhat plausible, starting with Argentina’s notorious protectionism, recently covered by the Wall Street Journal. To give you an example, “the government recently delayed one million books in customs to coerce publishers to print them locally,” the WSJ reported.
Still, AI’s source story in English, published on a relatively small site called Manuals.ws, also had details that set alarms for anyone familiar enough for the Argentine market. For instance, Blackberries will soon be assembled in Argentina, RIM confirmed in July, something Manuals.ws seemed to ignore, wrongly stating that “probably Apple and RIM won’t open such plants in Argentina.”
What makes the story even more viral is that Argentines haven’t warned English-speaking media outlets running this story yet. Instead, they’re laughing between them at the whole thing and at the serious-sounding debate on Apple Insider’s forum. So are we, except we decided to share it with you, and invite you to watch the false story do the rounds all over the Internet with us – this isn’t over yet.