Clip showing laid-off Twitter employees leaving with boxes is a hoax (VIDEO)

Oct 28 2022, 9:24 pm

A video clip showing two freshly laid-off Twitter employees leaving the company headquarters has turned out to be a hoax, and served as a good reminder to check your facts — especially if you’re a news source.

“It’s happening. Entire team of data engineers let go. These are two of them,” tweeted CNBC reporter Deirdre Bosa on Friday.

Bosa was reporting on Elon Musk’s takeover of Twitter from the social media giant’s headquarters.

Musk has shaken up the company’s structure, firing several top execs within hours of acquiring it. Two individuals decided to take the opportunity to troll the world by pretending they were engineers at Twitter and were leaving their office in classic “you’re fired” fashion – cardboard boxes, stressed-out faces, the whole nine yards.

Bosa first had a video attached to the tweet, which was later replaced with a photo, thanks to Twitter’s new editing feature.

The video is still available through other sources and you can watch it here:

Two men can be seen in the video, surrounded by reporters at the gates of Twitter’s Market Square office in San Francisco. But if you have a good eye for BS, you can tell what’s going on — especially since one of these “former Twitter employees” identifies himself as Rahul Ligma.

“Ligma” refers to an internet meme that follows the same wordplay principle as, say, “nunya business,” “deez nuts,” or “updog” (“what’s updog?”). The meme has been around for several years, and this Urban Dictionary entry from 2018 might illustrate how it works if you need clarity.

Urban Dictionary

The other employee simply calls himself Daniel Johnson.

Other parts of the video are also suspicious and unnatural, such as Ligma pulling out and holding up a copy of Michelle Obama’s book, Becoming, and saying, “Michelle Obama wouldn’t have happened if Elon Musk owned Twitter, you know. Obama in 2008 wouldn’t have happened.”

Meanwhile, “Daniel Johnson” complains that he doesn’t know how he’ll make his Tesla payments anymore.

Unfortunately, all these signs escaped the CNBC reporter.

Minutes after Bosa had tweeted the video as fact, netizens began pointing out the obvious. For a couple of hours, CNBC maintained that they were trying to verify the video with Twitter, but existing Twitter employees were calling them out in the comments for reporting the hoax as truth.

The Verge took a look at Twitter’s Slack directory and did not find anyone by that name. An employee as such does not exist on LinkedIn either, which should’ve been sufficient confirmation. Yet, the drama went on for a few hours, during which several other reputable publications reported on the video and fell for the prank without fact-checking it.

In the latest update from CNBC, the video still has not been debunked clearly. Bosa tweeted that CNBC was “not able to confirm that they were actual employees,” let alone that anyone was even laid off on Friday.

And the heat is still very much on.

Unfortunately, anyone can fall for a hoax, so we’ll let this be an important lesson about fact-checking and verification.

National Trending StaffNational Trending Staff

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