Balloon Boys Unite

A warning to CNN, Fox News, and others tapped into the citizen journalist movement. If there is suddenly a rash of new balloon boy sightings, take it with a grain–make that a shakerfulof salt.

Balloon Boys, a new cell phone app, is now available at the iTunes story, according to Mosa Motion Graphics, which created the application.  “iPhone users can now create their own balloon boy hoax simply by using their iPhone camera,” the company proclaims.  For 99 cents, iPhone users can manipulate any one of a number of different versions of the now-famous UFO balloon and several different figures, then paste the image onto a picture or video of their favorite skyline.  (Watch the demo video below.)

“Balloon boy images can be added to any picture, and easily resized and positioned using iPhone’s finger gestures. The results are strikingly real, and are saved to iPhone’s camera roll. The only limit is your imagination,” says the company in a release promoting the app, adding “like never before, recreation of a news event can be part of a new user experience.”

So, is the company concerned about creating a new wave of hoaxsters?

“We are aimed at the teenage market, strictly for fun and laughs,” says a spokeswoman, pointing out that pranksters already have plenty of technical tools at their disposal. “Anyone is free to create anything on Photoshop, many photos are already enhanced by mainstream media outlets,” she says. “Readers are right to be skeptical, and should often second source their news outlets.”


John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.