ESPN fell for it. A fake Twitter account for FOX Sports MLB reporter Ken Rosenthal, an account that had one single follower at the time, grabbed the world’s largest sports network and won.
There were multiple reports on Monday evening that the Athletics were in the final stages of trade negotiations that would send pitcher Jeff Samardzija to the Chicago White Sox. The reports came from the likes of well-known baseball reporters (the real) Ken Rosenthal, Jon Heyman and Jeff Passan. ESPN caught wind of it and announced at 12:56 AM EST that the trade had been completed, citing FOX Sports as the source:
The only supposed FOX Sports tweet sent out before 12:56 EST that confirmed the trade was this fake one spotted by Twitter user Steve Granado:
Jeff Samardzija has NOT been traded as of yet. Fake Ken Rosenthal account. #Athletics #WhiteSox pic.twitter.com/Ramw5qUGec
— Steve Granado (@SteveGranado) December 9, 2014
One would think that a network with more resources than some small countries could determine the difference between a legit Ken Rosenthal account that has over 500,000 followers and one that added an extra letter to his last name and had one follower at the time of the tweet.