Windows 7 Black Screen of Death
an Echo Chamber Hoax

  • Comments: 16
  • Written on: December 7th, 2009

black_screen_of_deathBeginning over the Thanksgiving Holiday weekend and continuing until recently, a report by security company named Prevx published a blog post stating tat a coming Windows Update will render millions of Windows 7 PCs inoperable suffering from a “Black Screen of Death.”

Today, ZDNet has published an article explaining the details and the time line of events that lead to industry giants like PC World Magazine picking up the story as fact.

After further investigation and a near heart attack at Microsoft, Prevx recanted the story and claimed they were not responsible for the damage that was caused to Microsoft by its initial report.Their statement reads:

Regrettably, it is clear that our original blog post has been taken out of context and may have caused an inconvenience for Microsoft.

According to ZDNet, it looks like Prevx’s initial report was titled with the headline, “Black Screen woes could affect millions on Windows 7, Vista and XP.”

Major Tech Publications Punked

Computer World and PC World Magazine noticed the headline and without waiting for any corroboration or comment from Microsoft, ran with the headline “Latest Microsoft patches cause black screen of death.”

The fact of the matter is that after investigation, there is no problem and this is a prime example of how the Internet echo chamber can lead to an inflated story – especially when there is competition to break the story first online where seconds matter to search engines.

No Takebacks, No Way

The most shameful thing of all is that PC World and Computer World both refuse to change the old headlines that they now know to be wrong.  That means they will be present in search engines for years to come, continuing to mislead and misinform the poor Windows 7 user with a VGA cable that fell out.

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