Ready? Here’s what was fake on the Internet this week:
1. The National Rifle Association is not banning guns at its annual convention. Rather, the reported “ban” comes from Nashville’s Bridgestone Arena, and will only apply to attendees who see concerts there during the three-day powwow. Attendees are perfectly free to pack heat at the convention proper, advocates note; and the only further restriction — that guns on display be non-operational — is standard practice at gun and outdoor shows, reportedly tied to insurance protocols.
2. A Saudi Arabian cleric did not issue a fatwa making it okay for men to eat their wives. In an incident that proves, reassuringly, that dumb satire is not limited to the English-speaking world, a North African satire site invented this preposterous religious edict by a Saudi sheikh, permitting cannibalism (by men, only) in the “event of severe hunger.” CNN Arabic confirmed on Thursday that the fatwa was fictitious. One Saudi official called the news “lies and fabrication,” meant to disgrace Muslims and distract from Saudi Arabia’s current campaign in Yemen.
3. Big Sean did not threaten Justin Bieber on Twitter. Per a juicy screenshot making the Twitter rounds, the rapper tweeted — and then deleted — a vague threat to Bieber after he put his arms around Ariana Grande during an L.A. concert. (Cheat sheet, for the confused: Big Sean and Ariana Grande are dating; Justin Bieber and Ariana Grande are not.)
Alas, the “screenshot” has all the markings of a fake. For one thing, the image has been tweeted hundreds of times, but always with the same time stamp and retweet count. (If it were genuine, multiple people presumably would have captured it at slightly different times.) For another, there are no retweets of Sean’s alleged original. (Deleting a tweet deletes automatic retweets of it, but it wouldn’t delete all the people who manually wrote RT @Big Sean … etc. etc. crying emoji.) To top things off, Big Sean’s reps have denied the tweet came from him.
4. “Viva Las Vegas” is not a duo between disco legend Giorgio Moroder and Britney Spears. Instead the song — which appeared on Soundcloud earlier this week, to the delight and hysteria of some Britney fans — was made by a 21-year-old Floridian and self-declared troll named Mathias Vignoly. To be clear, Spears did indeed record a song with Moroder, who will soon release his first new album in 30-plus years. But Moroder’s label confirmed to Billboard the (now-deleted) song wasn’t it — which should have been obvious, Vignoly insists. After all, the song surfaced on his personal account.
5. A virus called “Dance of the Pope” will not infect your phone. Warnings about the so-called virus are reportedly spreading like wildfire via text, WhatsApp and social media, particularly in Western Asia and Africa. But as the Internet scam-spotter Hoax-Slayer reports, there have been no credible reports about this kind of malware. We’ll just have to wait for the pope to dance another day.
You guys shouldn't accept any video called "dance of the pope". It's a very dangerous virus. Please spread the word.— SOMADINA (@S0MADINA) April 8, 2015
6. There is no zombie invasion, ever. The hot new prank on YouTube involves dressing a bunch of actors up like zombies and siccing them on unsuspecting passersby. A startling number of terrified people appear to have fallen for popular videos shot in Philadelphia and Fortaleza, Brazil, so: watch out for these guys.
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.
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