So, rather than take down each and every undeservedly viral story that crosses our monitors each week, we’re rounding them all up in a quick, once-a-week Friday debunk of fake photos, misleading headlines and bad studies that you probably shouldn’t share over the weekend.
Ready? Here’s what was fake on the Internet this week:
1. Those identical twin girls were not born holding hands. Jillian and Jenna Thistlewaite entered the world to global acclaim last Friday, when the children’s hospital in Akron, Ohio, tweeted a picture of the newborns in the delivery room with their little baby hands clasped. “These #Monoanmiotic twins came out holding hands!” a heart-warming caption read — so heart-warming, in fact, that the babies earned a spot on the “Today” show and pretty much every lady-blog on the Web. Alas, as “Today” clarified after its segment aired, the twins weren’t actually born holding hands — they just grabbed each other afterward. Which, while still cute, isn’t quite the same thing.
UPDATE: The twins we told you about earlier were not born holding hands. Hospital tells us they grabbed each other. pic.twitter.com/na6zMBJsUm— TODAY (@TODAYshow) May 12, 2014
2. Solange did not send that tweet about Jay-Z. The Internet was a-twitter this week with theories about the Great Elevator Schism of 2014, each more fantastical than the last. Alas, the real story is far less sexy than the rumors. A purported screenshot from Solange Knowles’s Twitter feed, wherein she accused brother-in-law Jay-Z of hitting her sister, Beyonce, was Photoshopped by some ambitious prankster. Solange hasn’t tweeted about the fight at all, which is probably a good call on her part. Consider this your weekly reminder: Screenshots taken from Twitter are very easy to manipulate.
3. New York Times publisher A.G. Sulzberger is not on Twitter. A Times spokeswoman debunked the account and complained to Twitter only an hour after @ASulzberger sent its first — fairly credible-looking! — tweet. The account has since been suspended. (And we were only just gearing up for the Jill Abramson jokes!)
4. Mallard Air is not “the Midwest’s newest budget airline.” But after two weeks of tweets from the hysterically on-point @MallardAir, we kind of wish it was. The account, which claims to be the corporate feed for a (nonexistent) regional airline, has cheerfully bumbled through just about every cliche error a corporate account could make. The Daily Dot suspects it’s a “Funny or Die” stunt. Timely!
Ugh, come on guys, interact with the MA account! This never happened at Buzzfeed!— Mallard Air (@MallardAir) May 8, 2014
Does anyone know how to stop someone from using our name in their twitter?— Mallard Air (@MallardAir) May 16, 2014
5. A UFO did not attack a Taliban training camp. More than 1.6 million people have watched a video of the alien “attack,” purportedly filmed by U.S. Marines, since it was uploaded to YouTube earlier this month. Tabloids like the Daily Mail and the New York Daily News have given it weirdly credulous coverage. Bad news, UFOlogists: The video was taken from a clip of a factory explosion, first uploaded to Youtube as early as 2009.
Did we miss any other notable fake stuff this week? E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org — or stay tuned until next week, because surely some more shenanigans will go down in the meantime.