There is so much fake stuff on the Internet in any given week that we’ve grown tired of debunking it all. Fake Twitter fights. Fake pumpkin-spice products. 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. Dennis Quaid did not have a hysterical on-set meltdown. We are leading with this particular bit of tomfoolery because it is both the best and worst hoax of the week. Worst because it was obvious and terrible: Footage of the alleged meltdown was uploaded to an anonymous and brand new YouTube account, a tell-tale sign of forgery. Best because people actually called it out: As my brilliant colleague Emily Yahr noted on Tuesday, the Internet approached the video skeptically from the start.
Viewers pointed out that this particular Quaid is known for being a classy dude. Other oddities? No one could identify the alleged movie set and the audio is suspiciously well-timed. Turns out the skeptics in the crowd were right: On Wednesday, Funny Or Die admitted it was behind the video.
2. A woman featured on “Divorce Court” did not sleep with the entire Wu-Tang Clan. Okay, this rumor technically originated on TV — but it was debunked on Instagram, and that’s Internet enough for me! Earlier this week, a man appeared on the Fox reality show “Divorce Court,” claiming his girlfriend had slept with all 10 members of the rap group Wu-Tang Clan. As unlikely as that allegation already seemed, Wu-Tang’s manager and several members of the group have since denied it explicitly.
“I would’ve remembered her,” Method Man wrote on Instagram, among many more offensive things. Besides, that would’ve violated the Wu-Tang groupie policy! As the manager told The Mirror after the “Divorce Court” allegations, “no girls on the bus unless they talk want to talk about music, politics or chess.”
3. Three police officers did not pose with a sign that said “don’t make me shoot you in the back.” File this one to the obvious Photoshop folder: In the past year, a picture of three officers in Nashville has been edited to include a variety of loaded messages, including “police lives matter” and “Obama, Holder, Sharpton & DeBlasio have blood on their hands.” Local NBC affiliate WSMV reports that the signs were originally part of a public safety campaign encouraging drivers to give a wide berth to emergency vehicles parked on the shoulder.
4. The West African black rhino did not go extinct this week. (Although if you think this is a happy debunk, you have another thing coming.) Contrary the mournful and very viral tweets from luminaries like Ricky Gervais, this particular species of rhino has been extinct since 2011. It seems that the confusion sprung from another endangered rhino: On Thursday, CNN published a sobering report on the last male northern white left in the world.
The West African Black Rhino has been officially declared extinct. It was hunted for its horn. Shame on our species. pic.twitter.com/hAljGZmRTT
— Ricky Gervais (@rickygervais) April 14, 2015
5. Monsanto hasn’t developed the first “genetically modified strain” of marijuana. More than 100,000 people have shared this story from World News Daily Report, probably because it hits the outrage sweet spot between Monsanto and legalized pot. Everything World News posts, of course, is actually made up. It’s probably also worth noting that we’ve long had stronger, genetically selected pot.
6. “Marco Rubio” is not an anagram for “Birac Obama.” Daniel Kibblesmith, a former skewerer of Internet culture for parody site Clickhole, made this joke on Twitter — the actual joke being that it’s not true, there aren’t enough letters. We fell for it! Sorry. Accidents happen. Especially when it comes to great anagrams…
Nice try “Marco Rubio” — or should I say… [rearranges letters] “BIRAC UBOMA” [audience gasps] — Daniel Kibblesmith (@kibblesmith) April 13, 2015
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.
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