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. A California man (probably) did not find a deep-fried rat in his KFC order. Devorise Dixon shocked and horrified a generation of Facebook users when he posted a photo and two videos of a suspiciously rat-shaped chicken nugget last Friday. Since then, however, some skeptical fast-food fans have poked holes in his story: like why did he delete one of the two videos? And why doesn’t the rat have any fur or bones? KFC, for its part, has denied the allegations and passed around its own visual debunking of Dixon’s photo. That said, the company might want to do some nugget-shape quality control.
2. An Australian surfer did not take a selfie with a shark. Seventeen-year-old Alex Hayes got an unexpected taste of fame late last week when he posted a picture of himself with a shark to Facebook and Instagram. The photo quickly earned more than 10,000 likes and surfaced in tabloids and Web sites around the world. The only problem? It was fake.
“I thought it was obvious,” Hayes told an Australian paper this week. “It was just meant to be a massive joke.”
So… I went for a paddle out front, decided to stop have a rest and then saw this bad boy, at first I freaked and then I saw that he was a chiller and just cruisin , luckily I brought my #gopro otherwise no one would've Believed me.. Changes my perspective about sharks they aren't all dangerous ! #wasstillshittingmyself #hadtogetaphoto #bruceythebull #nearlylostaleg #yolo @_a_gray_
Hayes has apparently learned his lesson: When you mess around with Photoshop, take the least subtle approach. On Monday, he posted this follow-up:
3. Miley Cyrus did not twerk on/burn a Bible at a recent L.A. concert. The People’s Cube — arguably one of the Internet’s most obviously satirical news sites — pulled yet another one over on the gullible people of the Web this week, claiming in a (fictional!!) article posted Sunday that divisive pop star Miley Cyrus burned a Bible in the name of religious tolerance at a recent concert. The story’s conservative-baiting is pretty obvious — it has Cyrus shout Hillary Clinton campaign slogans as the book burns, among other things — but that does not seem to have raised any flags for readers. The story has since been shared more than 150,000 times, largely by readers praying, unironically, for Cyrus’s soul. Tweeted one woman: “She will be singing another tune when she stands before God’s throne.”
@kafowler18 I think the fact that you don't know what satire is is more concerning for our culture
— tina☻ (@thebitchy0uhate) June 16, 2015
4. Chris Christie did not say female Viagra would make women gay. This peculiar piece of “satire” comes to us from Newslo, a site that specializes in mash-ups of real news and fiction. Newslo actually hints at its weird hybrid mission right at the top of the article: a button that says “show facts” highlights which parts of the story are true (in this case, a scant two paragraphs about the so-called “war on women”), and which are fictional. Alas, this has not stopped more than 220,000 people from sharing the story on Facebook, where readers are outraged at Christie’s “suggestion” that “the only thing” a female libido pill would do for women “is get them to change their sexual orientation.”
5. There is no “United Nations base camp” in Missouri. This week in semi-hilarious Jade Helm conspiracies: A hiker stumbled upon a mysterious construction site outside of a golf course in Jefferson City, Mo., complete with white tents, military vehicles, and unlicensed vans. Clearly, concluded the folks at newish conspiracy blog Consciously Enlightened — who are either really far-out theorists, or really A+ trolls — this is a military base that will be used in Obama’s upcoming takeover of the United States. Alternately, it’s a new golf course for disabled veterans, undertaken as part of a National Guard service project. We won’t tell you what to think: Take your pick!
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