What was fake on the Internet this week: Glee, ‘bubbling’ and a modeling contract for ‘hot felon’ Jeremy Meeks


“Hot felon” Jeremy Meeks is only a model in your dreams. (Stock Police Department/Reuters)

There is so much fake stuff on the Internet in any given week that we’ve grown of tired of debunking it all. Fake Twitter fights. Fake DHL ads. Amazing viral video? Nope — a Jimmy Kimmel stunt!

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. Chris Colfer is not leaving “Glee.” The actor apparently tweeted that he was this afternoon, citing vague “personal issues” and promising more details would follow. Follow they did: Colfer’s rep told The Post’s Emily Yahr that the actor’s account was hacked. He fully intends to return to Glee’s final season this year.


(Screengrab from Twitter)

2. “Hot felon” Jeremy Meeks does not have a modeling contract. TMZ and several other outlets — including The Washington Post’s Express — reported on rumors this week that the Internet’s favorite felon had scored a $30,000 deal with the agency Blaze Modelz. Alas, Meeks’s agent, Brandi Snail, told Gawker that they have never so much as talked to Blaze. (The agent seems like a step in that direction, though: Snail has also worked with Sydney Leathers, “Tan Mom,” and teen-mom-turned-porn-star Farrah Abraham.)

3. “Bubbling” is not an actual Australian trend. Readers in this hemisphere were rightly horrified to learn of a hot new Australian trend called “bubbling” — a.k.a. drinking one’s own urine. But despite reports in outlets like Vice that the practice has become widespread, it would appear that “bubbling” is less a trend than a bizarre shock stunt popular among a small community of Australian skateboarders. Multiple skateboarders told Mashable and news.com.au that the prank was limited to one clique, and never spilled out into the mainstream; other skateboarders said they’d never heard of it. In either case, someone probably should have told Australian rugby player Todd Carney that this was all a big joke: Carney allowed someone to take a photo of him “bubbling,” which went viral on Twitter. He’s been fired.

4. No one was arrested for calling her ex too often. The absurdist “news site” World News Daily Report — whose very name should strike skepticism in the heart of anyone who reads it — reported last week that an Albuquerque woman was arrested for calling her ex-boyfriend 77,639 times in one week. Hundreds of people tweeted about the case, apparently without doing the math on it: Since there are only 10,080 minutes in a week, “Ms. Murphy” would have to place a phone call every 10 seconds — for seven days, without sleeping! — for it to be true. For the record, the woman pictured in the story was actually arrested in Oklahoma City after crawling through a McDonalds drive-through window. Sometimes truth is stranger than fiction!

5. ISIS’ “five-year expansion plan” does not actually include half the Eastern Hemisphere. That did not, however, stop many Twitter users — and ultimately, ABC (!) — from sharing a map that purportedly showed such a strategy. In reality, terrorism expert Aaron Zelin told Quartz, the map is old and produced by ISIS supporters, not ISIS itself. “There is nothing official about it nor is there some alleged 5-year plan,” he said.


A viral — and totally misleading — map of unknown origins that circulated Twitter last week.

6. No one is strapping their children to this “anti-masturbation cross.” Terry Miller flagged this odd advertisement for us last week, earning a chorus of concerned rejoinders from people who couldn’t believe it was “okay/legal.” We can’t say for sure whether it’s either of those things — but it’s definitely fake. The ad for the bizarre immobilizer includes a link to Stop Masturbation Now, the questionably funny parody group that tricked CNN into running a story on its anti-masturbation toy last year. Needless to say, that toy was also fake.

7. The sun is not smiling at you. Inveterate photo-faker @planetepics got nearly 1,600 RTs on this unlikely image of a “smiling” sky. Alas, the universe is actually a cold, unfeeling place, and this photo is a blatant composite of two other images. (H/T to the great debunking account @PicPedant, which flagged this first.)

Did we miss any other notable fake stuff this week? E-mail caitlin.dewey@washpost.com — or stay tuned until next week, because surely some more shenanigans will go down in the meantime.

Caitlin Dewey runs The Intersect blog, writing about digital and Internet culture. Before joining the Post, she was an associate online editor at Kiplinger’s Personal Finance.
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Caitlin Dewey | July 3