I Believe: Internet Hoaxes that Rocked 2013

I Believe: Internet Hoaxes that Rocked 2013

YW1211While the hoax has long been a part of our culture, it seems to be growing. And while the idea of hoaxters taking to the internet is nothing new, it certainly seems to be changing. Instead of hoaxes focusing on the amusing, Grandland writer Tess Lynch suggests that we’re seeing a shift toward the emotional. Jason Hartman is sure you’ve seen them this year—they’ve certainly been all over his Facebook feed. Here is a look at some of the year’s best.

Tweets on a Plane
Television producer Elan Gale decided to live tweet interactions with a passenger he called Diane. Diane was rude to a flight attendant on a packed Thanksgiving flight and Gale told her through a series of handwritten notes. The story was immediately popular because it made us identify with the struggle of those working in the service industry on a holiday. Later, Gale admitted that he’d made it all up to pass the time while he was in the air.

Service With a Smile
You’ve probably seen the photograph of the receipt left for New Jersey waitress Dayna Morales that proclaimed she would not receiving a tip due to her sexuality. Online communities were outraged, and donated thousands of dollars to the waitress. Later though, that same couple came forward with a copy of their receipt in which they left a nice tip and zero note. Sadly, the scam preyed on our basic desire for human good and equality and ended in a lie.

Make It Twerk
A few months ago, you may have seen the YouTube video in which a girl’s pants caught fire as she twerked against a door. National news media picked up the video, and many used it to demonstrate the “culture of millennials” and the dangerous nature of twerking. Imagine their surprise when late night talk show host Jimmy Kimmel revealed that it was a prank he’d orchestrated with his team.

Ultimately, the lesson to the user and the media is to do your research—seeing something appear one time on the internet does not make it true, and we’d all be wise to do a little bit of extra searching before we identify something as fact. There were dozens more—Nigerian princes who couldn’t get back on their feet, “friends” caught in a foreign country with no money. Accounts were hacked, pranks were shared, we happily lived in a buzz of misinformation. In the next year, let’s all make a resolution—to look before we leap in the great and wonderful world of the internet.

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The Young Wealth Team