Chipmaker Intel fell victim to a hoax press release yesterday in what seems to be an apparent attempt to draw attention to the fact the company is set to invest $6bn into its Israeli operations.
The press release claimed that Intel would be suspending the investment because of "the destruction and loss of life resulting from Israel’s recent assault on Gaza".
The press release, sent from a fake Intel newsroom and penned under the name of ‘Nick Veritas’, said that Intel will make a u-turn on its previous decision to invest an additional $6bn in Intel’s Kiryat Gat facility in Israel, and that there will be a re-evaluation on Intel’s business relationship with the country.
Reporters on the receiving end of the press release were directed to a fake newsroom that looked just as real as Intel’s authentic newsroom. Some journalists even contacted the fake newsroom, getting through to Nick Veritas.
Business Insider was one of the publications that contacted the hoax press contact.
"We called the number and a man with an American accent answered, "Hello?" We asked him if he was Intel PR and he said he was and then tried to convince us that the news was real. He told us, "We’re not closing anything in Israel, we’re just putting on hold for now our investment. It will very likely go through in a few months." He told us "we are trying to get ahead of ourselves" so Intel wouldn’t suffer from negative opinion."
The fake newsroom has since been taken down, and the real Intel has released a statement. The firm said: "An unknown individual has sent what purports to be a news release to some members of the media concerning Intel’s operations in Israel. This is a hoax. The purported news release does not come from Intel and is false."
Intel hasn’t lost all humour though, dubbing the hoax a ‘chip shot’.
The fake press release quoted Intel CEO Brian Krzanich, who was meant to have said: "Intel takes seriously our commitment to being a responsible corporate citizen.
"We view corporate citizenship as the relationship forged between Intel, the communities in which we operate and society in general. At Intel, corporate citizenship is firmly anchored in our corporate values."
It was May when Intel submitted plans to the Israeli government to invest up to 20bn shekels ($5.8bn) into improving its plant in southern Israel.
As part of the plan, Intel would receive a government grant and create openings for 1,200 new jobs in the country.
Intel has been active in Israel for forty years, employing nearly 10,000 people at present over its plants and development centres.
The full hoax press release is below:
SANTA CLARA, Calif., August 7, 2014 – Intel CEO Brian Krzanich today announced the suspension of a previous decision to invest an additional $6 billion in Intel’s Kiryat Gat facility in Israel and that a reevaluation of its business relationship with Israel will be conducted. The review will help to ensure compliance to Intel’s stated Code of Conduct guidelines and Corporate Responsibility goals.
"Intel takes seriously our commitment to being a responsible corporate citizen," said Intel CEO Brian Krzanich. "We view corporate citizenship as the relationship forged between Intel, the communities in which we operate and society in general. At Intel, corporate citizenship is firmly anchored in our corporate values."
Intel’s Code of Conduct serves as a compass that guides the actions of employees, directors, and business partners, ensuring consistent and uncompromising integrity as we build trusted relationships around the world. Intel is also a United Nations Global Compact (UNGC) LEAD member. The first two UNGC Principles are regarding human rights.
Intel releases an annual Corporate Responsibility Report. "For us,corporate responsibility means achieving business success in ways that demonstrate respect for people and the planet and uphold the values and high standards of ethics expressed in our Human Rights Principles and our environmental health and safety policies," adds Krzanich. "In all our activities, we need to uphold Intel’s long-standing, global reputation as a role model for socially responsible behavior."
Intel Israel is the country’s largest private-sector employer. Mooly Eden is Intel Israel president and is also in support of the decision. He is confident that Intel Israel is "here to stay", despite the investment suspension. Eden has been speaking to Israeli government officials over the past weeks regarding its military policy and the negative attention it brings to the country and those businesses that operate within. "Intel has consistently been recognized as one of the world’s leading corporate citizens and most ethical companies," states Eden. "Our commitment to doing the right thing runs deep in our corporate culture. We don’t view corporate responsibility as a fad or marketing scheme."
The Kiryat Gat facility is only 15 miles from the northern Gaza Strip. Reports of the destruction and loss of life resulting from Israel’s recentassault on Gaza, in addition to the blockade that Israel has imposed on
the people of Gaza for the past several years is not something that
business leaders can continue to ignore.
Further details on Intel Israel’s business evaluations will be released in
the coming weeks.
Intel Corporate, Assistant Director
Communications & Public Affairs
+1 408 805 0679
Easter egg: The fake name used with the press release ‘Nick Veritas’ is also a sly jab at Intel. Veritas is Latin for truth, therefore the name could insinuate ‘steal the truth’.