These 9 Hoaxes Fooled the World in 2016

  • October 24, 2017
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Disney Black Diamond Tapes

This is less hoax and more shoddy journalism, but early in the year some blogger noticed that people were listing Disney Black Diamond edition VHS cassettes for one-thousand dollars apiece on eBay and interpreted this to mean that the tapes themselves are very rare and thus very valuable. Other writers latched onto the story, not realizing that the tapes are incredibly common and that those with absurd prices never actually sold.


National Geographic Photo of the Year

The above image raced around Twitter with proclamations that it was National Geographic's photo of the year. The problem is three fold. First, it never appeared in National Geographic. Second, the named photographer isn't a National Geographic employee, if they exist at all. And three, enlarging the photo reveals that it's a combination of preexisting images and not original.


Taylor Swift, Satanist

This one wasn't an intentional hoax, nor was it started in 2016. Years prior a satirical BuzzFeed article compared Taylor Swift's appearance to that of Zeena LeFay, former spokesperson for the Church of Satan, from a television appearance she had made many, many years before. Though it was accepted as a joke at the time it inexplicably circulated in 2016 as a legitimate (well, as legitimate as these things can be) conspiracy theory.


Green Moon

The story went that on May 29th the cosmos would align in such a way that the moon would have a green tint. As the claim spread it also mutated, adding a second date, April 20th, and claiming it had been four-hundred and twenty years since the last time the phenomenon occurred. Despite both the dubious claim of the original and the obvious joke in the updated version, this one made the rounds with people taking it seriously.