Rumours may be a good source of information at times, but there can also be cases whereby certain rumours may be nothing more than hoaxes with the potential to adversely affect the reputation of individual people or even huge companies. And in this case, the unfortunate victim of a recent rumour is none other than Twitter, who is currently finding itself at the middle of a little controversy over claims that it intends to start charging Japanese users for its services.
Would you pay to use Twitter's services? Well, as outlandish as it might sound, that was the question which many Japanese twitters found themselves asking after word broke out that the company was seemingly in the midst of planning to charge its Japanese user base for the right to utilize its services. And apparently, this rumour had gathered so much momentum that the company had to step in and issue an official announcement that any claims of Twitter intending to levy some sort of fees for the right to utilize its services are nothing more than a hoax, and should not be believed.
According to an article published by ITMedia, "information" of Twitter's supposed plans to start charging its Japanese user base first broke out when users stumbled upon a well-crafted story in Uncyclopedia. Apparently, the article alleged that Twitter's CEO was upset at the fact that Japanese Twitter users were consuming so much bandwidth that the "fail whale" error screen was becoming a common occurrence in the Land of the Rising Sun, and that the situation was made much worse by the recent earthquake that leveled much of Northern Japan.
The Uncyclopedia article also goes on to claim that Twitter's CEO did not take very kindly to how Japanese users were using Twitter as a tool for various tasks such as marketing and sharing information about local celebrities in the wake of the natural disaster, even going as far as to claim that Twitter has been reduced to a "stupid discovery machine" (machine translation). And apparently, the company's response to such alleged dissatisfaction with its user base was to start charging users for Twitter's services to prevent consumer abuse, with the most recent update to the Uncyclopedia article seemingly "confirming" the fact that Twitter will commence operations as a pay-to-use service come July, where consumers will be charged at various rates, depending on the number of tweets they send out.
Needless to say, this piece of "news" was not well received by the Japanese, although the good news is that Twitter has since stepped in to squash the "news" as being nothing more than a hoax, and that Twitter's services will remain free-to-use for all Japanese. Then again, this just goes to show how powerful unsubstantiated rumors can be, even if they originate from sources that have been known to be extremely unreliable. After all, whoever gets their news from a site like Uncyclopedia?