Another fake press release has crossed the wires, this time saying Chinese search provider Baidu offered to acquire social gaming company Zynga.
The bogus release, which included fabricated quotes from the chief executives of Baidu and Zynga, claimed Baidu had offered to buy Zynga for $10 per share. A Baidu PR representative denied the news, and PR Urgent, the site that published the release, took it down.
According to TechCrunch, the fraudulent release appeared to be either a prank or an attempt to manipulate stock prices. Baidu and Zynga are both reporting quarterly earnings this week.
Last November, a fake press release claiming that Google had purchased wireless hotspot provider ICOA for $400 million duped major media outlets including the Associated Press and TechCrunch. PRWeb, which distributed the release, later apologized, saying its safeguards were “not enough” to prevent the hoax. Vocus, the owner of PRWeb, has since tightened its press-release review process.
While the fake Baidu acquisition did not attract as much attention from the media, it brings to light once again the need for stronger safeguards for press-release-distribution services and increased vigilance among journalists.