People will believe anything they read.
A tweet from the parody account @pixelatedboat with a fabricated excerpt that it claimed was from Michael Wolff's bombshell new book on the Trump administration, "Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House," went viral on Thursday night.
The excerpt says President Donald Trump often spends 17 hours a day watching a makeshift "gorilla channel" put together by his aides.
"On his first night in the White House, President Trump complained that the TV in his bedroom was broken, because it didn't have 'the gorilla channel,'" the excerpt began. "Trump seemed to be under the impression that a TV channel existed that screened nothing but gorilla-based content, 24 hours a day.
"To appease Trump, White House staff compiled a number of gorilla documentaries into a makeshift gorilla channel, broadcast into Trump's bedroom from a hastily-constructed transmission tower on the South Lawn. However, Trump was unhappy with the channel they had created, moaning that it was 'boring' because 'the gorillas aren't fighting.'"
It continued: "Staff edited out all the parts of the documentaries where gorillas weren't hitting each other, and at last the president was satisfied. 'On some days he'll watch the gorilla channel for 17 hours straight,' an insider told me. 'He kneels in front of the TV, with his face about four inches from the screen, and says encouraging things to the gorillas, like 'the way you hit that other gorilla was good.' I think he thinks the gorillas can hear him."
It was entirely fake. And people ate it up.
By Friday afternoon, more than 14,000 people had retweeted the excerpt. The account's previous claim to fame was creating the "milkshake duck" viral meme.
Meanwhile, Wolff's actual book contains several claims that appear outrageous on the surface. Though Wolff has forcefully stood by its content, reporters and — much more so — the White House have expressed skepticism.
Even the account's announcing the tweet was made up and changing its name to "the gorilla channel thing is a joke" didn't stop some from running with the fabrication.
Even some prominent Twitter users were torn on whether it was real, while others fully went with it.
Upon finding out that they had been duped, some lashed out, while others conceded.