1. Vancouver riot kiss was far from romantic
The now infamous Vancouver riot kiss sparked the imagination of people around the world. The photo depicted a couple in love, throwing caution to the wind in the midst of a riot. Technically there was a kiss, but it was not the “Twilight” saga-esque passion that teenage girls salivate over. In reality, the woman identified as Canadian Alexandra Thomas was hurt by rioters and pushed by police. Her boyfriend Scott Jones was just trying to calm her down.
2. Gay girl in Damascus is a bored man in the U.S
Tom MacMaster posed as a Syrian lesbian who was kidnapped by the Assad regime. After holes in his story were exposed, MacMaster confessed to being the blog’s author. It was later discovered that he was just a bored American grad student from Georgia.
3. Tupac is alive?
A fake story on Public Broadcast Services claimed that deceased rapper Tupac Shakur was spotted alive in New Zealand. A PBS employee later confirmed via Twitter that their site had been hacked, and the story was a hoax. Figures - no rapper on the planet would skip out on fame to hang with a bunch of sheep.
4. Lady Gaga is a not a hermaphrodite
When a YouTube video showing Lady Gaga with male genitalia surfaced in 2009, the gossip that she was a hermaphrodite spread quickly over the Internet. In a 60 Minutes interview with Anderson Cooper, the pop icon didn’t deny or confirm the rumors. Instead, she chose to have fun with it and claimed that her fans wouldn’t care either way. Infamous for her androgyny and gender-bending lyrics, it’s no surprise that she enjoys teasing the public.
5. Morgan Freeman and Will Smith are not dead
Rumors went wild after fake news site FakeAWish.com generated the headline, “Will Smith dies after falling from cliff in New Zealand.” A similar frenzy happened when Twitter user @originalcjizzle tweeted, “RT @CNN: Breaking News: actor Morgan Freeman has passed away in his Burbank home<< wow legendary actor #RIPmorganfreeman.” Both incidents were exposed as hoaxes after a simple Google search revealed that no credible news organization backed up the story.
6. Lonelygirl15 was not so lonely
Before Rebecca Black or Justin Bieber hit it big on YouTube, there was lonelygirl15. Bree Avery seemed to be a typical, angst-ridden teenage girl who would vlog about anything and everything. Over time, her story evolved to included a cult and the disappearance of her parents. But was it even true? Her overzealous fans discovered in 2006 that Bree was an actress and the operation was produced by the Creative Artist Agency. Lesson learned: don’t believe everything you see on the web.
7. Racism at McDonalds
A photograph of a sign on a McDonalds window set the Internet ablaze with accusations that the fast food chain was racist. The sign claimed that there would be a $1.50 surcharge for African-American patrons, as an insurance measure due to a recent string of robberies. According to a handful of Twitter users, the picture originated on the popular image board 4chan a few years before it caught the public’s attention.
8. The Facebook friends “tattoo” sleeve
When a video of an anonymous woman getting all of her Facebook friends tattooed to her arm surfaced on YouTube, it spread like wildfire. It was later discovered that the tattoo was temporary and the result of a publicity stunt by online printing company Pretty Social. Unfortunately, the public does not appreciate being duped unless you are scaring them into believing in witches or UFOs. A commenter on Mashable had harsh criticism for the company…”I gotta say something about companies who resort to viral marketing hoaxes to get attention. If a company doesn’t have enough confidence in themselves and their product or service to come up with a creative marketing solution that fosters trust and inspires people to want to know more about them, I’d say they aren’t ready for the marketplace,” said Lisa Portzer.
9. Unlikely guy might win Next’s top model
When the UK retailer Next launched their 2011 model search, Roland Bunce entered the competition. The only problem is that Bunce is an overweight gentleman that isn’t exactly mainstream model material. Thanks to a practical joke, courtesy of Reddit users, he knocked out the other contestants. According to Next’s contest page, he’s number-one with 5,925 tweets and 61,000 Facebook likes.
10. Creepy eHarmony cat lady
We all love YouTube cry babies. They give us something to talk about in the awkward moments at the water cooler… or on Facebook. The eHarmony cat lady made the ultimate sacrifice and risked her reputation for 15 minutes of Internet fame. The overly emotional video, expressing her love for cats was so popular that eHarmony posted a response on their blog confirming that it was a spoof.