Arash Derambarsh: The Facebook President of the World

One of my favorite Facebook hoaxes involves Arash Derambarsh, the Facebook President of the World.

This is a great story because no one gets hurt, no one’s identity is stolen, and it reveals that the media often has an unquestioning attitude towards its stories. Not just in America, where we tend to hear about how bad big media is, but also in France, where this story really caused a stir.

Here’s how this Facebook hoax went down.

A third-party Facebook application announced that it was accepting votes to elect a World Facebook President. Most sources report that about 140,000 votes were cast.

When the election was over, a winner was announced: Arash Derambarsh won with just over 9,000 votes. Hardly a majority, but Facebook has a puppet government anyway, so what’s the difference, right?

Mr. President

Arash Derambarsh actually campaigned pretty hard during the election. He had three primary objectives that he wanted to achieve if elected Facebook President: lower illiteracy rates, fight religious intolerance, and promote French culture around the world.

At the time of the election (this was in late 2007), Arash Derambarsh was a 28-year-old French man. It isn’t clear whether or not he knew anything about the hoax or not, but he certainly took advantage of the publicity.

And the French media loved it. Arash Derambarsh, Facebook World President, sat down to lots of interviews. Many of the major French news sources released the story without even the slightest hint that it originated from a joke. No, they reported it as if it were real news. As if Arash Derambarsh election was something that French people should be proud of.

The French Press Loved There New Facebook Pres

What would it have taken to verify the validity of this story?

Not much. They could have called or sent an email to Facebook’s publicity department. That would have cleared matters up pretty quickly. Instead of acting like journalist with some amount of professional integrity, though, they perpetuated the joke without even the benefit of a small off-camera chuckle.

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~ by facebookhoaxes on March 12, 2010.

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