It’s amazing that anyone fell for these stupid hoaxes last year. #9 was so obvious. How did news sites get so easily tricked?
In the internet, age hoaxes have become easier to concoct and perpetuate. It’s understandable than an elaborate hoax could hoodwink us, but these eleven shouldn’t have gotten as far as they did.
In November the Rumblr app was announced. Effectively working like Tinder, Rumblr would allow users to arrange fistfights with each other. The story was picked up by news sites but quickly proven as a hoax, having been exposed in the same month.
10Pay for Privacy
Facebook hoaxes never really die, and this one is no exception. This one resurfaces every so often: Facebook will soon be charging users a subscription fee to maintain privacy settings. But the hoax claimed copy-pasting a message got you in for free, giving the hoax legs.
After the trailer for The Force Awakens was released a few pranksters decided to launch a fake protest of the film, alleging that it’s casting of a black man in a lead role promoted “white genocide.” This one gained a lot of traction in the media before being exposed as a hoax.
8French Flag Facebook Warning
Many people changed their Facebook picture to a French flag after the Paris attacks. A copy-pasted scam claimed that ISIS had begun tracking down such users and killing them individually. No, it was never explained how they would do this and yes, it was as dumb as it sounds.
Last summer a military exercise became a far-reaching conspiracy in the US. The nuts and bolts of it: President Obama was using the exercise on US soil as a means to covertly launch martial law across the country. The exercise ended in September and the conspiracy quietly faded away.
6Minions Are Nazis
Around the release of Pixar’s Minions film, this photo emerged on Spanish-speaking social media alleging that the design of the Minions was based on children experimented on by Nazis. It was largely seen as a joke, but for a brief time, it was passed around by English speakers as fact.
5Miss Columbia Suicide
During the Miss Universe pageant host, Steve Harvey accidentally announced Miss Columbia as the winner when really Miss Philippines had won. The web was quick to pen a story about how Miss Columbia killed herself shortly after, unable to live with the shame.
4Ugly Children Disposal
This image has actually been around since ’07, but it made rounds again in 2015 when it was shared by a prominent Twitter user, History in Pictures. In the original photo (from 1928) the sign reads “Please keep off the grass.”
In February footage claiming to be from Roswell’s Area 51 site surfaced, sparking excitement and confusion among the paranormal community. Ultimately the footage was proven to be taken from a UK film called, fittingly enough, Alien Autopsy.
2The Chinese Miner
This heartwarming story of a Chines miner surviving underground for 17 years after a collapse was passed around last October, but while it featured “plausible” details it simply never happened. The story originated with a fake news site.
115 Days of Darkness
This one was debunked by NASA back in 2012, so we’re not sure how it managed to spread again in 2015. This “news” story claimed that Earth would be eclipsed in total darkness between November 15 and 29. NASA once again had to explain that the alignment of the planets wouldn’t cause total darkness, but we expect this hoax to resurface again and again until the end of the universe.