Have you ever fallen for fake headlines on your Twitter timeline? Maybe it was a closely related spelling in a Twitter handle, perhaps it was just a name and photo, or maybe it was news posted in a photoshopped graphic with an accompanying quote. Whatever it is, most of us have experienced this. However, recently a newer Twitter account has been effectively fooling people in the media, and some media members have run with these satirical posts. The latest got the attention of Brooklyn Nets star Kevin Durant.
The Twitter account, Ballsack Sports, was established in 2021, as their Twitter bio reads. In that short time, their misinformation has been shared as fact on air on ESPN, ABC, TNT, Fox News, Sports Illustrated, and more. The account has fooled anyone from Stephen A. Smith, Kendrick Perkins, Dan LeBatard, Stephen A. Smith again, and more.
A New Media Literacy Training Strategy
However, with a quick visit to their Twitter page, you see a pinned thread stressing the importance of media literacy and how easy it is to spread misinformation.
The account which is run by a 24-year-old from Akron, Ohio first established widespread notoriety when it was mentioned on a Philadelphia radio show by Daryl Morey. In what Morey thought may delegitimize the account only brought more eyes to its page, launching it into the zeitgeist of NBA Twitter.
Ballsack Sports Latest Victim
Despite already being tricked once by the skyrocketing account, ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith was again fooled by a quote graphic tweet. The graphic was a made-up quote saying:
“Kyrie beat James Harden 1-on-1 almost everyday in practice, and Kyrie was barely even in basketball shape. It demoralized Harden. Things reached the breaking point when Kyrie called Harden ‘washed’ after completely locking him up in one scrimmage. An assistant had to break up the two as tempers flared and the relationship spiraled downhill from there.” – citing an unnamed and also made up Nets executive in their parody post.
In what has been popularized as being “sacked,” Stephen A. Smith has quickly fallen victim to its scheme twice. The latest occurrence happened on the Monday airing of ESPN’s First Take. Smith cited the false quote stating that the relationship between Irving and Harden hit a breaking point when the Nets point guard called him “washed” in practice. However, ESPN’s highest-paid personality didn’t credit the account that posted it, he just cited “reports” while talking with Magic Johnson.
Kevin Durant, who is no stranger to calling out the media on Twitter quickly capitalized on Smith’s blunder by simply quote tweeting “Damn Steve. Got yo ass” in response to the now-viral clip.
Durant and Smith have a history of calling one another out on the social media app, and Tuesday’s Tweet isn’t the first and likely won’t be the last.
Whether or not this is the last time the ESPN star is hoodwinked by a satirical social media account cannot be determined. However, it is incredible that a parody account is providing top-notch media literacy training to even the most seasoned veterans in reporting.