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NEW YORK – Much attention has been paid early in the new year to tweets from News Corp. chairman and CEO Rupert Murdoch and a person using the name of his wife Wendi Deng. But on Tuesday, tweets from the account Wendi_Deng said that the user was not really the mogul’s wife.
“Hello Twitter. As News International has finally come to their senses, it’s time to confirm that yes, this is a fake account. I’m not Wendi,” a Twitter message from the account said Tuesday.
Follow-up messages said “But you do have to wonder why they were unsure for so long” and “And you have to wonder even more why Twitter verified this account for a full day. I never received any communication from them about this.”
The user didn’t disclose their true identity, but said they are not a journalist or anyone famous. “Really. I’m a nobody. Not an aspiring comedy writer. Not anything,” the person said on Twitter. Another message said: “I was as surprised – and even a little alarmed – when I saw the Verified tick appear on the profile.”
Spokespeople for News Corp. in New York and its News International unit in London said though that the Rupert Murdoch Twitter account was not a fake. Asked how the Wendi Deng account could have been verified, a News Corp. spokeswoman confirmed it was a fake, but said that its verification was a question for Twitter.
“We don’t comment on the verification process, but can confirm that the @wendi_deng account was mistakenly verified for a short time,” a Twitter spokeswoman said. “We apologize for any confusion this caused.”
Deng has been getting much online attention since she defended her husband from a foam pie thrower when the mogul testified last year in the phone hacking scandal.
It wasn’t clear what the spoofer tried to accomplish with the fake account beyond having fun. “Above all, this was a bit of fun,” the person said later on Tuesday. “If you don’t think it was, then you’d better ask Twitter to remove every other spoof account too.” Another Twitter post said: “I also never made personal jokes about Wendi Deng. It would have been very easy, for instance, to go on and on about the foam pie incident.”
The person also made another reference to Deng’s foam pie defense of her husband. “And yes, to answer some tweets, of course I’m now in fear of Wendi coming to sort me out with a swift kick,” the spoofer said.
One of the first tweets from the fake Deng account was a message saying: “@rupertmurdoch happy 2012 to u too sweetheart. I LOVE U!!!”
Another comment, directed at CNN host Piers Morgan, said: “@piersmorgan hi piers i hear u are THE person to follow on twitter!! :)”
Other messages included one that said “trying to explain to @rupertmurdoch that twitter is about following not just being followed. sharing and chatting and tweeting,” another one that said “very proud of @rupertmurdoch for getting on twitter. never too old to start!!!” and one that stated: “twitter can be quite addictive! but not sure @rupertmurdoch completely sold on it. i’m working on him tweeters!!!”
The user of the Deng handle said later on Tuesday morning: “I’m sorry if some of you feel misled by this Twitter account, but I never said it was entirely genuine. I never said it was a spoof either.” The person added: “But then it wouldn’t really be much fun if every spoof account (of which there are many) said SPOOF all over it.”
Mimi Turner in London contributed to this report.
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