Bad Press: The Internet Falls For Another Con Artist [Fortnite Edition]

The internet has a such a vibrant imagination.

For those of you healthy adults who don’t follow Fortnite news, Epic yesterday was accused of stealing artwork and using it as a cosmetic costume in their battle royale shooter. The tweet highlighting the claim showcased a Deviant Art user’s creation submitted September 2018 compared to the Fortnite model released in November of the same year. Taken at face value, the models look very similar, almost too similar to not be a coincidence.

Here at MMO Fallout, I pride myself very highly on my BS detector. It came at a very high price, my eternal soul which upon my death will be stored in a garage in Buffalo. Not all too different from my living soul. This gift has come in very handy as in MMO Fallout’s nine years of existence, I have had to correct perhaps one or two pieces in total while breaking some stories that were later confirmed by third parties as genuine and preliminarily offering my doubts to numerous other stories that turned out to be fake.

So when yesterday’s story started hitting that Epic Games was being accused of plagiarism of a Deviant Art…artist, my detector shattered six coffee mugs and bolted down the street singing Queen. Maybe it’s the difficult task of taking seriously a person whose username comes from a television show for toddlers. Maybe it’s because Deviant Art is a bastion of plagiarism under the guise of “this is my OC character, plz donut steal.” Perhaps I just found it very hard to believe that an Epic Games artist would look at this drawing and think “I need to rush this into production yesterday,” funneling the skin from original post to seeing it to designing a knockoff to modeling to testing to release all within two months. That’s an artist with pull.

That could be it. It could also be that I’m aware of Deviant Art allowing people to change photos without altering the “user submitted” date. Such as with this 2009 creation.

The story didn’t fool many people outside of the reactionary Youtube news vlogger circuit, but it did manage to snag the attention and coverage of none other than Forbes Magazine. And why not? Their coverage of the faux-controversy has gathered nearly 140,000 views as of this publishing, far more than discussion of The Walking Dead, Fear The Walking Dead, and the Epic Chinese Avengers poster. Web hosting doesn’t come cheap, folks, and clickbait doesn’t have time for verifying your facts. If you think about it, the fact that the accusation happened is news in and of itself. Basic investigative skills are for nerds like Twitter user Ding Dong who decided to check the website’s cached version and found that the art was swapped. Maybe Forbes should hire Ding Dong instead.

Perhaps the other side of this coin is the general habit of the public to immediately believe anything bad about an individual/entity that they don’t personally like. This claim was instantly believed by large swaths of the internet because Epic did a thing and made a game they wanted exclusive, so why wouldn’t this no-good scumbag literally-Hitler company steal artwork from an innocent 13 year old? It boggles the mind to think that a company you don’t personally care for wouldn’t be guilty of every half-baked accusation that gets laid out over Twitter.

But of course that’s just my opinion, I could be wrong.

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