That Wendi Deng Twitter Account Is Fake

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Photo: Gilbert Carrasquillo/2011 Gilbert Carrasquillo

Alas, it's not actually Rupert Murdoch's wife manning the @Wendi_Deng Twitter account that took the Internet by storm this weekend. (Took the Internet by storm = Briefly fascinated many of the media people we follow on Twitter. We're not talking Bieber-gets-his-hair-trimmed level here.) Could Deng really have written "that was me showing how to RT! :D" and "haha. now telling me to write and apell [sic] my tweets properly!!! GIRLS its the nails right? RIGHT? :D"? Nope. After a Guardian reporter contacted News Corp. for comment and finally got a denial, the still-anonymous tweeter formerly known as Wendi Deng wrote a series of tweets expressing puzzlement that people had taken the account so seriously.

Hello Twitter. As News International has finally come to their senses, it's time to confirm that yes, this is a fake account. I'm not Wendi. But you do have to wonder why they were unsure for so long. And you have to wonder even more why Twitter verified this account for a full day. I never received any communication from them about this. I was as surprised — and even a little alarmed — when I saw the Verified tick appear on the profile. You might ask "why didn't I tell them?" But surely Twitter should be checking out its Verified status more carefully? No? It might be only a small matter, but you have to worry about the management of News International and Twitter if they can both readily confirm, for a while at least, that this was the account of a very noted personality. I have even seen reports 'analysing' Wendi's tweets. That's faintly laughable, don't you think?

WE'RE NOT LAUGHING, FAKE WENDI DENG. "Analyzing" Internet marginalia is kinda how we make our rent. Anyway, that's one Murdoch/Deng Twitter mystery solved. The other question is who might be writing Murdoch's own brand new, rather amazing Twitter account. ("Vacations great time for thinking. St Barth's too many people. Thoughts best kept private around here. Like London!") One theory, as put forth by New York's own Murdochologist Gabriel Sherman, holds that Wendi is responsible for that one — some of the Tweets look like they might have been written by a nonnative English speaker, he thinks. Plus the copious use of exclamation points doesn't seem terribly Rupert. But then there are tweets like " bolt" and, simply, "." So we're going to go with written by a nonnative Internet user/old person — aka Rupert Murdoch, MySpace impressario extraordinaire. Have you ever watched someone over 70 try to find the apostrophe button on a smartphone?