Study: 11% of Americans Think HTML Is an STD

According to a new study

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[See update at bottom] Had a particularly raucous night that ended with you doing the walk of shame the next morning? Uh oh, hope you don’t get HTML.

Just kidding! HTML is a programming language that’s used to make websites, but according to a new study from VoucherCloud and published by the L.A. Times, about 1 in every 9 Americans–or 11%, to be exact–think HTML is actually a sexually transmitted disease.

VoucherCloud surveyed 2,392 people ages 18 or older and, according to the L.A. Times, “were given both tech and non-tech terms and were asked to choose from three possible definitions.”

The results? An embarrassing amount of Americans think HTML is a disease you can catch from another human being–which says a lot about the state of both sex and computer education in the U.S.

Other findings, unearthed by the Times:

  • 23% thought an “MP3” was a “Star Wars” robot. It is actually an audio file.

  • 18% identified “Blu-ray” as a marine animal. It is a disc format typically used to store high-definition videos.

  • 15% said they believed “software” is comfortable clothing. Software is a general term for computer programs.

  • 12% said “USB” is the acronym for a European country. In fact, USB is a type of connector.

It’s like they ONLY interviewed my grandma and her friends!

Update: iMediaEthics has pointed out that the PR company responsible for sending out this release has been involved in viral publicity stunts before, so the validity of the study may be questionable–we’re working on figuring out more. Here’s the original press release for your perusal. We’ve reached out to VoucherCloud for clarification and will update if we hear back.

Update 2: 10 Yetis, the PR agency who supports VoucherCloud, has responded with the following statement (though we’re trying to get them on the phone for more info):

I can confirm it is 100% genuine, not a publicity stunt

Update 3: Just spoke with 10 Yetis PR on the phone, here’s the sitch:

It’s a completely real study and survey that we sent out to a large database. I’ve read the claims I know exactly what you’re talking about, but it is a real tried and tested method. We’re quite well known in the U.K. for doing these. It’s 100% genuine and what we do is 100% valid.