Yesterday, June 8, The New York Times briefly published a story titled ‘Fields of Watermelons Found On Mars, Police Say.’ The article was soon removed, but not before a number of people found it, archived it, and speculated about what it meant. The article’s page has since been replaced with an error notice alerting readers that the article was published by mistake — and, yes, the content was entirely fake.
Popular news media is currently heavily invested in an upcoming ‘UFO’ report the government is expected to release later this month, as well as reports of seemingly non-human vehicles operating in military air space and more. That perhaps makes the New York Times‘ article even more amusing, as it briefly talked about ‘fruit aliens’ and why they’re to blame for a mass of watermelons from Mars.
‘The FBI decline to comment on reports of watermelons raining down, but confirmed that kiwis have been intercepted. This story is terribly boring,’ the archived version of the article reads. The title appeared on Google News, which is where it was first spotted by the folks over at Futurism.
As you’ve probably guessed, the article is gibberish and was mistakenly posted to the website, with a New York Times spokesperson telling Futurism the content is a mock article, not real reporting. The company’s team was testing its content system and accidentally published a fake article on the live website.
If you visit the article’s URL now, it features a notice that states, “A mock article intended for a testing system was inadvertently published on this page earlier.” Though the story was odd, it wasn’t surprising — these type of test articles are deliberately composed of nonsense so that no one will mistake them for real reporting.