The most important caveat to the recent spate of headlines declaring Prince William the world’s sexiest man, based on a ‘Google study’, is that he’s clearly not.
Yes, he’s a prince, but come on now.
Still, the headlines rang out on the likes of The Sun (‘Prince William beats Mike Tyson and Jason Statham to be named world’s sexiest bald man’), The Independent (‘Prince William named as ‘world’s sexiest bald man’, according to a new Google study’), and countless others, including some local sites.
The Independent’s story was widely shared on Twitter:
Prince William named as ‘world’s sexiest bald man’ https://t.co/7AAhLBEdKu
— The Independent (@Independent) March 27, 2021
That’s more than 50 thousand tweets and quote tweets, which is a far greater number than their Twitter account usually sees.
Here’s how that story opens:
The Sun reports that cosmetic surgery specialists Longevita conducted the study by searching for how many times the Royal had been called ‘sexy’ in various online blogs and articles around the internet.
The results found that William had been called ‘sexy’ a whopping 17.6 million times, to come out on top of the follically challenged gents from around the world.
Why does any of this matter? Well, it doesn’t really, but we don’t want to write nonstop about terror sieges and violence, so we’re mixing things up a little.
Perhaps the best way to understand why this ‘Google study’ is bollocks is through the work of Dan Barker, who unpacked the methodology used, and result settled on, in this Twitter thread:
The whole “Prince William is world’s sexiest bald man” says “Google study” thing.
I’m sure most people realise what’s happened, but in case not, here is a brief explanation:
This is the headline on the version of the story that’s been shared the most (from the Independent)… pic.twitter.com/OYC6bAd5Ho
— dan barker (@danbarker) March 27, 2021
Rather than embed the entire thread, we’ll pick out the information as needed:
17.6 million people said Prince William was the most ‘sexy’. That’s a huge study. Google surveys generally cost £0.08 per response, which would mean they’d spent over a million quid on the study…
… only it’s not a survey, the detail on the methodology is just this: “The 38-year-old Duke has been described as “sexy” a whopping 17.6 million times online in blogs, reports and pages found in Google searches, researchers found.”
…That’s not how Google works. If you search for ‘prince william sexy’, not all of the results will even contain those 3 words, let alone in the context of there being a relationship between them…
So what is actually going on? It’s a PR piece by a firm called Longevita, who offer… hair transplants. They’ve put the story out to The Sun, who have published it…
It suits Longevita for Prince William to be top of the list, because Longevita offer hair transplants. They want to: 1. Keep their name out there & get lots of mentions related to baldness. 2. Actually they do *not* want to position baldness as ‘sexy’.
So having Prince William & baldness being made fun of, rather than people swooning over photos of Jason Statham, or Stanley Tucci, or Bruce Willis makes good sense…
Outcome: – Longevita got a bunch of mentions. (arguably they messed up a bit too, by not publishing the study on their site & picking up links) – Some news sites made a bit of money from ads, & various people laughed at Prince William’s expense
Shame, poor William.
His family is under fire after Meghan and Harry’s bombshell Oprah interview, and his relationship with his brother is clearly in tatters.
We should also mention that his uncle has been accused of sexually assaulting underage women whilst palling around with Jeffrey Epstein and Ghislaine Maxwell, but all of that seems to have been forgotten, apparently.
The ‘study’ was given legs by the fact that so many accounts with huge followings quote tweeted reports that covered it, whilst others just straight up tore into William:
— Jezebel (@Jezebel) March 27, 2021
Even Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson got in on the action:
— Dwayne Johnson (@TheRock) March 27, 2021
I am now team Larry David.
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