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. A bird did not poop on Vladimir Putin. A strangely satisfying video whizzing around YouTube last weekend appeared to show a bird taking revenge on Russia’s president as he unveiled a monument in Moscow. Alas, Russian versions of the footage show Putin finishing his speech on the dangers of war with his suit jacket and his dignity intact. The edited clip seems to have originated with the YouTube channel “PressTVNews1,” which specializes in frequent and questionably factual videos from the conflict in Ukraine.
2. A thief in the Hamptons did not steal a $4,000 egg salad recipe. Many a peddler of Internet lulz seized on this blotter item Sunday — which was, in their defense, a very slow day for news. According to the item, a reality TV star reported “the best egg salad recipe in the world” stolen, and valued its worth at $4,000. Alas, the police blotter in question belonged to Dan’s Papers, a Hamptons’ weekly that has regularly indulged in pranks over the course of its 50 years. The paper’s web editor confirmed to Gawker that the whole thing was “a gag.”
3. A Google Glass thief did not inadvertently stream his day back to his victim. In fact, the resulting video — which purports to show the thief’s day — fooled few in the YouTube comments section, where viewers quickly pounced on uploader “Mike Geller” and his video’s many discrepancies. For one thing, commenters pointed out, Google Glass tethers to a smartphone, and can’t stream once that phone is out of a range. For another, Glass’ battery doesn’t last that long. And finally, what kind of idiot wears Glass when he’s just chilling around his house, having a beer? “It feels like a viral marketing stunt,” one commenter wrote. We’d have to agree.
4. A Reddit-detective did not catch a 12-year-old girl’s killer. Early Wednesday morning, Redditor baxuz posted a screenshot from the anonymous chat site Omegle, in which an unidentified user claimed he or she had stabbed 12-year-old Julissa Romero 17 times and dumped her body in Alameda County, Calif. The post attracted thousands of comments and inspired dozens of calls to the Salinas police. But according to police and the Monterey Herald, the girl — who is only listed as a missing person because of a “technicality — is alive and living in Mexico with her mother.
5. This viral video does not depict some guy’s drunk wife making grilled cheese. First things first: It actually shows her microwaving string cheese on Goldfish crackers, which does not a grilled cheese make. More importantly, the woman in question is comedian Ashley Bez, who is not married. As far as comedy bits go, it’s a good one … but still apparently staged.
6. A Coke employee did not pollute the product with dirt. This particular rumor — which surfaced on lame “satire” site Empire News two weeks ago — seems to have gained a lot of social media traction, despite the many ways in which it makes no sense. For the record, a man did not pour dirt into Coke cans labeled “Michael” in order to get back at his boss; Coke isn’t recalling any product; and Empire News is terrible.
7. You can’t change the color of your Facebook header. An app that claims you can is, in fact, actually a link out to a phishing site, and — per the Guardian — it’s infected more than 10,000 computers with malware already.
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.