Updated: June 10, 2021 12:20:01 pm
Amid immense interest in space explorations and presence of life beyond the Earth, people were left in a frenzy after a New York Times report claimed “Fields of Watermelons Found On Mars”. Although the American news organisation was quick to delete the article and calling it an error, it didn’t stop netizens from having a blast online.
On Tuesday afternoon, the article appeared on site attributing the claim to the police. “Authorities say rise of fruit aliens is to blame for glut of outer space watermelons,” read the story, which was deleted less than an hour later. However, it got indexed on Google News.
“The FBI declined to comment on reports of watermelons raining down, but confirmed that kiwis have been intercepted. This story is terribly boring,” the story read, according to screenshots going viral across social media platforms. “Watermelon taste good, police say,” the report added.
It got further attention when a journalist posted screenshots of the deleted story.
What’s happening at the NYT pic.twitter.com/Ff5L24zZNk
— Jon Christian (follow for chaos) (@Jon_Christian) June 8, 2021
His tweet created a huge buzz online.
A former employ guessed that it might have been some backend error while testing out some new feature on the website and it might have got published by mistake. Turns out, he was right.
When I worked at NYT, part of my job was to show people how to use our CMS, and my worst fear was that my fake article, “Psychologists See Rise of Alarming New Trend: Procrastination Baking,” would get published by mistake.
My thoughts are with whomever did this. https://t.co/TJ9io2w3Oz
— Lil Uzi Hurt 🥺 (@lostblackboy) June 8, 2021
According to a report by Futurism, a spokesperson of the New York Times clarified it was meant for just testing purposes. “Earlier today, a mock article intended for a testing system was published on our site in error,” the spokesperson was quoted. “The article has since been removed,” she added.
The link to the article now opens to a page, which reads: “This article was published in error.” Explaining the gaffe, the content now reads: “A mock article intended for a testing system was inadvertently published on this page earlier.”
Many people working on websites claimed it’s their “worst nightmare” and sent out “thoughts and prayers” to the person who accidentally published it.
Thoughts and prayers to the web producer who accidentally published their test story about Martian melons https://t.co/DByboFcxxa
— Susan Gonzalez (@TheNewsan) June 8, 2021
My biggest fear when responsible for pages going up on NPR was doing literally this: https://t.co/mOBkqMem7j
— Mallory Yu (@mallory_yu) June 8, 2021
This is my *actual* recurring nightmare https://t.co/BePb1WNvqi
— Heather Cherone (@HeatherCherone) June 8, 2021
Even the story was retracted soon, screenshots of the article went viral and some readers even archived the article to have some fun online.
With many conspiracy theories and memes taking over on Twitter, ‘watermelon’ and ‘Mars’ found many mentions on the platform. While some opined what if it was an indication of something that might happen in future, others couldn’t stop cracking jokes and analysing the content of the now-deleted article. Some also said that they were disappointed that it wasn’t a long article and just an error.
QUESTION: what if the NYT/Watermelon story is their prewrite of the forthcoming UFO report?
— Amanda Becker (@AmandaBecker) June 8, 2021
Me, a space reporter, on the phone to my sources: “So have you.. heard about the, um.. watermelons on Mars?” https://t.co/BWnj911j1r
— Marina Koren (@marinakoren) June 8, 2021
The NYTimes broke the Mars Watermelon story, but it looks like the government quickly silenced them. Truth will out. https://t.co/upZ924ppM8
— matt blaze (@mattblaze) June 8, 2021
The rise of fruit aliens is to blame 👽🍉 https://t.co/VgOIvZmDr9
— Lauren Gibbons (@LaurenMGibbons) June 8, 2021
gonna assume that the agents of the watermelons on mars got in touch and let them know they weren’t dead yet https://t.co/Ch4i650qss
— Walter Hickey (@WaltHickey) June 8, 2021
If anything I thought it’d be musk melons. I’ll see myself out. https://t.co/rpbUvpVpxB
— Vrashabh (@vrashabh) June 9, 2021
“Watermelon taste good, police say” 🍉🍉🍉
Looks like the NYT need the weekend as badly as me https://t.co/kYPdHcUbMb
— Dominika Perlinova (@dperlinova) June 8, 2021
is it bad i wanted to read that story? https://t.co/xBGzKNJkzs
— krystal nurse (@krystalrnurse) June 8, 2021
The Mars Rover can have one space watermelon. As a treat. https://t.co/1UlizkWccT
— Drew Alvarez (@fakeDPA) June 9, 2021
Their prewritten narratives for 2023 got leaked https://t.co/lCLftHPfcU
— :o) (@dalightactivist) June 8, 2021
🤔 we aren’t aware of any space watermelons but we’ll double check
— National Farmers Union (@NFUDC) June 8, 2021
— nick (@hrrysboyfriend) June 8, 2021
Honestly a bit disappointed it’s not a 10k word feature complete with interactive visuals. https://t.co/YL6yQGZSUw
— Tony Ho Tran (@TonyHoWasHere) June 8, 2021
Space Watermelons pic.twitter.com/urcL60m8dt
— Wildfire Program (@OddMnHypothesis) June 8, 2021
Giving rise to the Martian Watermelon Truthers pic.twitter.com/0QpyAf2Ujo
— John-Michael Jalonen (@John_Mike_) June 8, 2021
That’s embargoed until Thursday.
— Eric Goebelbecker (@egoebelbecker) June 8, 2021
— CAARIU (@CAARIU) June 8, 2021
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