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

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

154605129
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.

Advertisement

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).

TODAY IN SLATE

Foreigners

The World’s Politest Protesters

The Occupy Central demonstrators are courteous. That’s actually what makes them so dangerous.

The Religious Right Is Not Happy With Republicans  

The XX Factor
Oct. 1 2014 4:58 PM The Religious Right Is Not Happy With Republicans  

The Feds Have Declared War on Encryption—and the New Privacy Measures From Apple and Google

The One Fact About Ebola That Should Calm You

It spreads slowly.

These “Dark” Lego Masterpieces Are Delightful and Evocative

Crime

Operation Backbone

How White Boy Rick, a legendary Detroit cocaine dealer, helped the FBI uncover brazen police corruption.

Politics

Talking White

Black people’s disdain for “proper English” and academic achievement is a myth.

Activists Are Trying to Save an Iranian Woman Sentenced to Death for Killing Her Alleged Rapist

Piper Kerman on Why She Dressed Like a Hitchcock Heroine for Her Prison Sentencing

  News & Politics
Politics
Oct. 1 2014 7:26 PM Talking White Black people’s disdain for “proper English” and academic achievement is a myth.
  Business
Moneybox
Oct. 1 2014 2:16 PM Wall Street Tackles Chat Services, Shies Away From Diversity Issues 
  Life
Outward
Oct. 1 2014 6:02 PM Facebook Relaxes Its “Real Name” Policy; Drag Queens Celebrate
  Double X
The XX Factor
Oct. 1 2014 5:11 PM Celebrity Feminist Identification Has Reached Peak Meaninglessness
  Slate Plus
Behind the Scenes
Oct. 1 2014 3:24 PM Revelry (and Business) at Mohonk Photos and highlights from Slate’s annual retreat.
  Arts
Brow Beat
Oct. 1 2014 9:39 PM Tom Cruise Dies Over and Over Again in This Edge of Tomorrow Supercut
  Technology
Future Tense
Oct. 1 2014 6:59 PM EU’s Next Digital Commissioner Thinks Keeping Nude Celeb Photos in the Cloud Is “Stupid”
  Health & Science
Science
Oct. 1 2014 4:03 PM Does the Earth Really Have a “Hum”? Yes, but probably not the one you’re thinking.
  Sports
Sports Nut
Oct. 1 2014 5:19 PM Bunt-a-Palooza! How bad was the Kansas City Royals’ bunt-all-the-time strategy in the American League wild-card game?