Test claiming Internet Explorer users have low IQ was a hoax

3 Aug 2011

A ‘study’ which claimed Internet Explorer users had a lower IQ than other browser users was a hoax.

The hoax was supposedly from a group called AptiQuant Psychometric Consulting Co, which claimed it offered a free IQ test to more than 100,000 people and analysed what browser they used.

AptiQuant said the results revealed that Internet Explorer users had a lower IQ than other quiz participants. Chrome, Firefox and Safari had “just a teeny bit higher” than the average IQ scores and Camino, Opera and IE with Chrome Frame had “exceptionally” higher IQ levels.

AptiQuant followed it up, claiming that “loyal Internet Explorer” users had threatened to sue them for the results.

The story was reported by numerous media outlets, however, the BBC looked into it further after its readers doubted the source. It discovered that AptiQuant’s website was only recently created with staff images compiled from a different business called Central Test in Paris with names changed.

It is unclear who is responsible for the hoax, however, the group seems to want to steer people away from Internet Explorer.

“Internet Explorer has traditionally been considered a pain in the back for web developers. Any IT company involved in web development will acknowledge the fact that millions of man hours are wasted each year to make otherwise perfectly functional websites work in Internet Explorer, because of its lack of compatibility with web standards,” it reads.

“The continuous use of older versions of IE by millions of people around the world has often haunted web developers. This trend not only makes their job tougher, but has also pulled back innovation by at least a decade. But with the results of this study, IT companies worldwide will start to take a new look on the time and money they spend on supporting older browsers.”

Graham Cluley, senior security consultant at Sophos, told the BBC that the PDF file attached to the release which contains the data from the fake study does not appear to contain malware.