Yesterday, online news organization The Next Web (TNW) reported Elon Musk, visionary entrepreneur and founder of Tesla and SpaceX, was in fact accepting cryptocurrency as a means of payment to purchase his lesser-known project’s Not a Flamethrower product. It’s produced by Musk’s The Boring Company, and both it and the company are a way to help fund fulfilling his transportation dreams. The TNW report, however, was incorrect. They mistook a scam website for legitimate, and thus gave enthusiasts false hope.
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Elon Musk, Not a Flamethrower, and Crypto
Elon Musk has always been related to the cryptocurrency movement. The visionary entrepreneur was seen holding cryptocurrency related books in public, and he also has commented on Twitter about the spambot epidemic plaguing social network sites that allow their users to gift ether.
But it’s a long way from there to accepting cryptocurrencies as a means of payment for one of the most controversial (and funnily dangerous) of his products, Not a Flamethrower. That is why were a bit skeptical and surprised when at the news.
The Not a Flamethrower was a gag from Elon Musk that started in a Tweet when he mockingly commented they were going to sell flamethrowers after selling hats. The Boring Company is an outlet not boring at all in terms of sales. It has sold more than 50,000 hats and 20,000 Not a Flamethrowers in an effort to finance Musk’s true passion, digging tunnels for transportation.
Yesterday, the word came from a “reputable” source that The Boring Company was accepting cryptocurrencies in their online store to pay for Not a Flamethrower. But the outlet did not do its homework well and flopped by referring to a scam site.
In the article, The Next Web fails hard, referencing a quite amateurish website as if it is the official platform of The Boring Company. If you go to theboringflamethrower.com you’ll see that something is wrong instantly. No legitimate company website could look so undone.
Regardless of that, The Next Web carried on with the false story without confirming that the web was indeed official, leaving its carelessness out in the open. There have been times that scam sites look so good they could pass for official, but this is not one.
If we discard the possibility of TNW having been wrong in a sincere way, why would they do it? There is an easy answer to that question: exposure. There is no such thing as bad publicity in the cryptocurrency journalism business.
Every outlet is obsessed with headlines to attract thousands of visits, propelling the site forward. Journalism is still a business first, and visits bring advertising partnerships to make the site grow. Understandable.
Sources, however, need to be verified, and readers need to be informed about what is really going on. A proper procedure must be followed in order to inform objectively about anything. That is the only way fake news can be fought in the trenches of the web.
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