Ready? Here’s what was fake on the Internet this week:
1. Alex from Target was not a marketing hoax. This is confusing, but in short, when a company called Breakr claimed to have orchestrated human meme Alex from Target’s virality using a secret network of influencers … they were themselves telling a bit of a whopper. Both Alex (full name: Alex LeBeouf) and other characters involved in his saga claim not to know anything about Breakr. Meanwhile, the company itself has since dramatically walked back initial claims about how much it influenced Alex’s success.
In either case, this should conclusively affirm Alex’s place in the viral pantheon, if not in Target’s employee-of-the-month club. (For the record, Alex still has his job at the store; claims to the contrary appeared on notorious hoax site Huzlers.)
2. Beyoncé is not releasing 11 new songs. A convincing tracklist for the “next” Beyoncé album — accurate down to its Columbia Records logo — thrilled Bey fans and bloggers alike when it surfaced on Twitter last weekend. It was exciting, obviously, that Beyoncé appeared to have recorded songs with intriguing names like “Good in Good Bye” and “Sensation of Pain.” It was more exciting that the Internet seemed to have foiled Bey’s attempt at a second secret album.
Alas, Queen Bey is not so easily caught out: Her camp told Billboard the tracklist was “completely made up” — but impressively so! “That people would take their time to do and create a fake one-sheet … I would love to know who did it,” she said. Maybe it’s all just Illuminati messaging.
3. You cannot catch Ebola from Doritos. Gruesome crime scene photos were not 4chan’s only gift to the Internet this week — the infamously mischievous message boards also tried to convince unsuspecting victims that they could catch Ebola from chips. Per a number of Photoshopped headlines that 4channers spread on Twitter, three workers at a Doritos factory came down with the disease over the weekend, potentially spreading it to “hundreds” of bags of chips. Reminder: You can only catch Ebola through contact with the bodily fluids of an infected person.
4. “Modern Family” was not cancelled. You could be forgiven a little confusion on this score: After the Onion-affiliated Clickhole.com published a story about the ABC comedy’s coming demise, Eric Stonestreet — who plays Cameron on the show — tweeted the link with the commentary “so sad.” The only sad thing, of course, is the number of people who don’t know Clickhole is a comedy site. And that should be fairly obvious, given the story’s headline: “ABC Just Canceled Modern Family In Order to Teach People that Something You Love Can Be Taken From You With No Warning Whatsoever.” Right.
5. “Hot teacher” Lucita Sandoval does not, in fact, exist. Sandoval didn’t make too much of an impact on the English-language Web — perhaps because we have legitimate teacher sex scandals of our own — but news outlets and WhatsApp users in Argentina, Chile and Peru have been inundated with footage of the 26-year-old “teacher,” who was purportedly filmed having sex with an underage student. The sexy video does, in fact, exist, but the woman in it is an “athlete and ballerina,” per Argentina’s Nuevo Diario Web, and the man is a college student. In either case, it appears the video’s being shared without the woman’s permission — so if you get it on WhatsApp, consider deleting.
6. Notorious Internet creep Hunter Moore is not back on Twitter. Hunter Moore, the revenge porn impresario who ran IsAnyoneUp.com (and ruined any number of innocent women’s lives) was categorically banned from social media at the time of his arrest for hacking and conspiracy in January. But that very public, and well-publicized, fact has not stopped an imposter from registering the account @HntrMoore and engaging in all the weird antics the real artifact used to. Contacted by Vocativ, the person behind the account admitted it was a “parody” but wouldn’t explain why he started it.
hi— Hunter Moore (@HntrMoore) November 4, 2014
7. There is no such game as “Shadow of Boston.” Gamers briefly trended the phrase “Shadow of Boston” on Twitter Wednesday after rumors emerged that the popular gaming franchise Fallout had filed a trademark in Germany for its fourth game. The mark does show up in Germany’s patent and trademark database, which is where a forum-user first spotted it. But Fallout’s makers have said they didn’t file it.
Did we miss any other notable fake stuff this week? E-mail email@example.com — or stay tuned until next week, because surely some more shenanigans will go down in the meantime.