BuzzFeed Outs Twitter User Behind Last Night's Biggest Sandy Lie

The Slatest
Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
Oct. 30 2012 1:00 PM

BuzzFeed Outs Twitter User Believed To Be Behind Sandy's Biggest Lie

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Twitter proved to be a source of both false rumors and facts last night

Photo by Fred Tanneau/AFP/Getty Images.

Those of you who were following along on Twitter last night probably noticed an unusual amount of misinformation being spread on the 140-character-or-less site, some of which made its way onto cable news in one form or the other before being corrected by official sources.

Josh Voorhees Josh Voorhees

Josh Voorhees is a Slate senior writer. He lives in Iowa City. 

The Sandy-themed whopper that caused the most fuss was that the floor of the New York Stock Exchange was under three feet of water, something that was reported as fact by CNN and others late last night before Twitter users moved quickly to self-correct the false report.

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So who was behind that rumor (along with a few others, such as a Manhattan-wide blackout)? According to BuzzFeed, which did some digital sleuthing last night and this morning: Shashank Tripathi, a NYC hedge fund analyst and GOP congressional campaign manager who uses the @comfortablysmug Twitter handle.

BuzzFeed's Jack Stuef explains how he cracked the case:

Based on photos he censored and posted to the account but I found unedited elsewhere, @comfortablysmug is Shashank Tripathi, a hedge-fund analyst and the campaign manager of Christopher R. Wight, this year’s Republican candidate for the U.S. House from New York’s 12th congressional district.
FEC documents show Wight has paid Tripathi thousands of dollars this election cycle as a 'consultant.' For years, he’s been a prolific commenter at NYmag.com and a popular conservative presence on Twitter. In 2008, he penned an entry for the site’s popular sex diary feature that “detailed a week of obsession, rough sex, and Ambien.”

Read the full post over at BuzzFeed (or, more specifically, the Tumblr account the site is running while their main site struggles to stay live).