One of the most bizarre accounts on Twitter is starting to become a major thorn in the side of many media commentators who have taken the bait to sharing completely fabricated breaking news stories.
The social media phenomenon known as ‘Barry McCockiner’ has started to become one of the most excruciatingly infectious accounts on Twitter, as the satirical prankster continues to dupe some of the biggest names in sports broadcasting.
‘McCockiner’ is easily recognizable with his uniquely ripped avatar picture that features the face of a male actor posing as a medical practitioner from an old commercial advertising the ‘Addiction Network Hotline' with a scruffy beard, glasses, hospital scrubs, and a stethoscope.
The face has now become synonymous with fake news, as the McCockiner persona might be the biggest troll in the history of Twitter.
NFL insider Peter King, one of the most visible faces in the business, fell for one of McCockiner’s typical machine-gunning tirades of fake news.
First, McCockiner changed his bio name to ‘Ian Rapoport’ and copped the prominent NFL Network reporter's avatar as his own and then tweeted that Oakland Raiders wide receiver Antonio Brown had retired.
As Brown continued to go through one of the most infamous off-seasons in recent memory with frostbitten feet and ‘Let me wear my helmet or I quit’ news stories, this update didn’t seem that shocking up to that point. The tweet received 2.2K retweets and 11.1K likes.
But then the updates got even weirder. The fake Ian Rapoport account then tweeted:
"Sources confirm that Brown called #Raiders GM Mike Mayock and demanded that the team sign Colin Kaepernick or else he’d retire. Mayock said no, so Brown retired. Unreal."
OK, those updates seemed a tab bit unbelievable, but this is Antonio Brown we’re talking about.
That’s when King bit on this update from the fake @Rapsheet account:
That’s when King Re-quoted the tweet with the caption: “Has any player ever done more to shoot his way out of town before ever playing a game there?”
King would later delete the tweet and apologize for being baiting to spreading fake news.
The onslaught from McCockiner really didn’t stop, as the fake Rapoport account kept pushing out even more ridiculous ‘breaking news’ tweets, saying Tyreek Hill had broken his hand punching his infant son after practice, and then tweeting Antonio Brown had thrown a sex toy at Jon Gruden.
It was quickly obvious then, if not all along, that this was clearly a troll, but not after more than two dozen verified accounts had re-tweeted or re-quoted McCockiner’s tweets. McCockiner took to Twitter later that day to smugly pat himself on the back for fooling so many reputable reporters.
McCockiner’s account ‘@DocMcCockiner’ currently has over 116,000 followers, but it’s difficult to keep track of his actual following considering he uses multiple accounts that often spend extended amounts of time being banned or deleted altogether.
The fictitious news scooper and infamous troll has a podcast titled ‘The Class Act Podcast’.