What may amount to a mere slip of the tongue is quickly evolving into one of the most ridiculous gossip stories in recent memory – even by the Daily Mail's standards.
Yes, the Mail has outdone itself once again, taking a story of minor significance and forcibly thrusting it into the public’s recoiling face, in a bid to create a circus out of a non-event.
The story getting the Mail gibbering with excitement? The news that Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg is possibly, potentially, maybe getting married to his girlfriend. Maybe.
Or maybe not.
It's strange that the geek who made good is filling a Kate Middleton-sized void of celebrity gossip, threatening to draw the rest of the web into the black hole it creates.
This afternoon's love story matinée eminates from an interview with computer boffin turned relationship guru Bill Gates, who ‘let slip’ that Zuckerberg is now engaged to long term girlfriend Priscilla.
In an exclusive interview with Gates, it seems that the “cyberworld’s best kept secret” has been leaked while discussing Zuckerberg’s philanthropy:
“His fiancée Priscilla thought about education and he gave money to Newark, New Jersey, and we did a co-grant so that some of our people who had some expertise in that field could help him out.”
The eagle-eyed will see that Gates said “fiancée”.
So, proof positive that Zuckerberg is getting married to his girlfriend of eight years?
Well, “it could have been a slip of the tongue” the Mail sagely asserts, before embarking on a remarkable witless gumshoe detective trail of checking the social media website owner’s own Facebook profile's relationship status.
Intriguingly, for the Mail it appears that the profile no longer mentions his relationship status, and so, using the rational deductive skills of your average moon-landing denier, the rag decides to break the news that the two are to be betrothed.
Despite a firm denial by Zuckerberg’s PR that any such move had been made - stating that “Gates's communications guy just wrote to apologise for the misunderstanding” - the Mail remained resolute in the face of inconveniences such as factswith its barrage of evidence.
The case for the engagement:
- A recent picture, obligatory puppy in tow, with the couple looking “every bit the happy young family”? Near concrete evidence.
- A claim that “observers” have noted that “often when couples become ‘in a relationship’” on the social network “an ‘engaged’ status soon follows” Proof beyond doubt that, as day follows night, they will be heading to the altar.
So will they or won’t they? Well that’s not really the point.
What is cause for despair and disdain is the desperation with which the rag pieces together a patchwork of pointless gossip, followed by other sheets, to put together a yawn-inducing yarn all with the aim of invading the personal life of a public who the Mail portrays as "notoriously secretive" of his private space. Quite funny, actually.
Irony, we've heard of it.