It would probably be easier to list the outlets that didn’t report on the recent study that found Internet Explorer users had low IQs — but now it looks like the joke’s on us. New information about the research firm claiming to have conducted the study indicates that it might all be an elaborate hoax.
According to BBC News (which also reported on the study), the website for the Canadian company that first announced the results of its study comparing browser preference to IQ was not only set up within the last month, it also features photos of its “staff” copied from other sites.
In the original report, Vancouver-based “psychometric consulting company” AptiQuant announced that it had tested 101,326 people from English-speaking countries over the course of four weeks and determined that Internet Explorer users had the lowest average IQ of all the subjects tested.
The study received a massive level of attention around the mainstream media world, but questions quickly arose about the research firm’s legitimacy.
After it was discovered that AptiQuant’s website was set up just a few weeks before the results were posted, a deeper dive into the site revealed that much of the company information it contained had been imported from a French research company called Central Test. Photos of the Paris-based firm’s staff were even copied on the AptiQuant site, with the individuals’ names changed but their professional credits left largely intact.
As Computer Business Review points out in its own coverage of the potential hoax, the “About Us” page on AptiQuant’s website offers an almost word-for-word duplicate of the “About Us” page on Central Test, with only the company’s year of establishment and founder’s name changed.
“I can confirm that there is no formal link between the Central Test and [the] company called AptiQuant,” a representative of Central Test told CBR.
There’s been no statement from AptiQuant since the “study” released its findings.