- Associated Press - Tuesday, January 3, 2012

LONDON (AP) - A Twitter account purported to be linked to the wife of media mogul Rupert Murdoch has turned out to be bogus.

Twitter spokeswoman Rachel Bremer said Tuesday that the popular micro-blogging site “mistakenly verified” the “Wendi_Deng” account as genuine for a short time. She said the company apologizes for the confusion.

Bremer said Twitter would not discuss its verification procedures, which are put in place to prevent hoaxes.

The person who opened the “Wendi_Deng” account tweeted Tuesday that it had been a spoof.

News International spokeswoman Daisy Dunlop said while the account was fake, the Twitter account opened over the New Year’s weekend by News Corp. chief Rupert Murdoch was genuine. Murdoch has used the account to offer political and literary views in the last few days.

The Associated Press and other news organizations including the Guardian and the Telegraph newspapers quoted the “Wendi_Deng” account in earlier stories. The tweets under the account appeared to be lighthearted and didn’t raise substantive doubts.

It wasn’t immediately clear why the person set the hoax, but late Monday said they hoped Murdoch and his wife would have a better 2012.

The last year has seen Murdoch, 80, embroiled in a British phone hacking scandal that has threatened his global media empire.

His wife was by his side when he testified about the scandal before Parliament in July, and she stepped in to slap down a protester who tried to douse Murdoch with a cream pie. Deng’s quick action to protect her husband was captured on video and distributed on websites throughout the world.

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