From the CutForBieber campaign to microwaving your iPhone in order to charge it, and even a live Taylor Swift concert for the deaf and hearing impaired, in this video we are going to count down 10 internet hoaxes that far too many people fell for.
Taylor Swift Concert for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing
Out of respect for one of the largest communities of pranksters and those known for hoaxes, we thought it was only fitting to implement 4chan into number one on our countdown. In 2012, VH1 Storytellers, Papa Johns, CoverGirl and Chegg, a company specializing in homework help and tutoring, launched a competition which promised that Taylor Swift would perform a live concert at whichever school in the US that earned the most votes. Immediately, anonymous users of 4chan and Reditt started a movement asking others to vote for Horace Mann School for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing. Even those not affiliated with either website blindly cast their vote for the special needs school as a result of the trend. Because of the overwhelming support to have this Massachusetts based educator selected for the concert, they undoubtedly won. After such a landslide victory, Swift and her sponsors disqualified the school, making a $10,000 contribution instead because of obvious reasons despite the fact that some can still enjoy music. Maybe in the end this is a win – win. The internet trolls got a good laugh out of it, Horace Mann received a $10,000 donation along with instruments for a possible revival of their music education program, and we got some interesting content for our latest video. All’s well that ends well!
Toby is the pet rabbit of two men named James and Brian, creators of SaveToby.com. When it comes to the internet, you’re entering a sick place filled with all kinds of people, good and bad. James and Brian fit into their own category, twisted. In early 2005, the men opened up their website to internet traffic, promising to kill and eat the little furry guy if they did not receive $50,000 by June 30th. The site included a variety of pictures of Toby and some insight into his background. This was followed by a book they published titled “Only You Have the Power to Save Toby,” a collection of recipes for cooking rabbit. Animal rights activists insisted that this was animal cruelty and petitioned to have the website shut down. The most they were able to do was have PayPal no longer accept donations for James and Brian due to the fact that SaveToby.com’s hosting service, GoDaddy.com refused to remove the site. A representative to the company said in an interview that “it is perfectly legal to eat rabbit.” To the relief of many hundreds of donators, the website was revealed to be a hoax and was eventually purchased by Bored.com. The only downside is that its creators claim to have made over $20,000 in profits off of merchandise and donations.
George Mason University Tricks Wikipedia
T. Mills Kelly has to be one of the most engaging professors any college student could have for their teacher. He taught a course at George Mason to undergraduates called ‘Lying about the Past.’ Several years back, Kelly encouraged his class to detail the life of serial killer Edward Owens, by creating a Wikipedia article. The only problem was that no such man had ever existed, he was 100% fictitious. In order to pass off the character as being someone of significance, worthy of their very own page on Wikipedia, Kelly and the class spent the semester creating YouTube videos relating to the topic and interviewing “experts” of the subject. It didn’t take much for Wikipedia’s community of editors to pass along such a ‘well documented’ article. At the end of the semester, Kelly publicly announced the hoax. Many applauded him for his pedagogical innovations while others were red hot with anger. Wikipedia’s founder, Jimmy Wales, compared the stunt to the dumping of trash on the streets or vandalism. In recent years, Kelly has lived up to his students expectations and done similar projects in class on online forums such as Reddit.
Microsoft Purchases the Catholic Church
We know that all that money must be burning a hole in Bill Gate’s pocket, but would he go so far as to become the owner of one of the most subscribed to religions worldwide? Of course not! In December of 1994, a news story alleged to be issued by the Associated Press began making rounds online, primarily via email, claiming that the Catholic Church had been bought out by Microsoft. To be honest, it’s actually a pretty funny one. The article noted that this was “the first time a computer software company has acquired a major religion.” It gets even more comical when the article quotes Microsoft Chairman, Bill Gates as saying “the combined resources of Microsoft and the Catholic Church will allow us to make religion easier and more fun for a broader range of people.” As part of the deal, Microsoft would be granted certain electronic rights to The Bible and would make the sacraments readily available online. Of course, not everyone caught on to the joke. One individual called Microsoft to express their amazement that the Roman Catholic Church was actually willing to sell out. It got so out of hand that on December 16th, 1994, the company issued a formal denial to such claims and apologized to any who were offended by the story and thought Microsoft to be its source.
Lonelygirl15 was an interactive web-based video series which revolved around the life of a fictional teenager by the name of Bree. At first, her YouTube audience wasn’t aware that the individual portraying Bree was actually an actor named Jessica Lee Rose. Bree’s vlogs were rather normal and covered everyday subject matters. As time passed, stories began to get stranger and stranger. “Bree” spoke of her dealings with secret occult practices within her own family and at one point her mother and father mysteriously disappeared after she refused to attend a secret meeting set by the leaders of the family’s cult. It was discovered some time later that the whole thing was made up by an agency now known as EQAL. The possibility of Lonelygirl15 being a fake was first discussed in the YouTube comment section where fans analyzed the tiniest of details and inconsistencies in her videos. Popular opinion at the time was that Bree’s posts may be some sort of teaser to an upcoming movie or television show.
This might as well be one of the most controversial and widely publicized internet hoaxes and campaigns. Thousands of Justin Biebers fans, who identify themselves as Beliebers, were encouraged by an unidentified individual to cut themselves in support of the young pop music star. This came as the result of the now twenty-one year old being caught smoking marijuana. The #CutForBieber campaign caught on and soon was trending as an uncountable number of pictures of slit wrists and arms were released. News outlets did their best to inform the public that the whole thing started as a hoax, but the fact that several young people seriously harmed themselves as a result is quite alarming. Guess where the source of #CutForBieber was traced back to? 4chan of course, where else?
iPhone Completely Waterproof
We’re not quite sure which one is more hilarious, the fact that hundreds of people have tried to microwave their iPhone, or the fact that even more submerged theirs in water thinking nothing would happen. The hoax came about back in September of 2013 when an anonymous user of 4chan released an image showing that the update to iOS 7 would make any iPhone 100% waterproof. As one source ties together quite nicely, it preyed on those with little understanding of technology. The individual who posted the image claimed that with the update, the cellphone was capable of detecting changes in thermos-distribution through sensors in the touch screen and home button. In the event of an emergency, it was alleged that all power would be immediately cut off, which would somehow prevent any water damage. Whoever came up with such an ingenious ploy sure was right about one thing, the phone would immediately shut off. They just forgot to add that in most cases it never turned back on.
Charge Your iPhone in the Microwave
If you’ve fell for this one, we’re sorry, but you should be wearing a hardhat whenever in public and given crayons instead of a pen, since you pose a threat to yourself. The hoax allegedly originated in the depths of 4chan.org, where users came up with an idea for a new internet hoax soon to sweep the globe. One skilled ‘Photo-shopper’ created an infographic made to look as though it were created by Apple. Named ‘Wave’ ,as in microwave, it claimed that any iPhone updated to iOS 8 could be fully charged by being heated in a household microwave for one minute and thirty seconds. Any time you feel down or depressed about something, just take the time out of your day for a quick Google search and see just how many people had a side of fried cellphone with their Hot Pocket. You’re welcome.
Bill Gates Pays for You to Send Chain Emails
It is true that the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has helped to globally enhance healthcare and reduce the effects of extreme poverty.. but, they aren’t just handing out money for simple tasks, regardless of the meme you may have seen on Facebook. Since 1997, in one form or another, this persistent hoax has been circulating. The next time you are forwarded a chain email as part of the “beta test for a new Microsoft tracking program,” immediately file it away in your trash bin. If there’s one thing you take away from this video, just know that no one in their right mind is going to pay you for sending such an email to your contacts.
Man Sues His Wife for Ugly Daughter
This story has been floating around the World Wide Web for quite some time now. According to Snopes.com, a website covering urban legends and internet rumors, it has been making its rounds since at least 2004 and is in all likelihood a hoax. Such an internet legend speaks of a Chinese man, Jian Feng, who allegedly took his wife to court for bearing an unsatisfactory child. As the story goes, Feng discovers that his wife underwent very expensive plastic surgery years prior. The man claimed that this proves that he married the women under false pretenses and that could be the reason why their daughter was so hard on the eyes. In the end, a judge takes Feng’s side and awards him the equivalent of $120,000 in damages. Snopes.com cites that the chances of any aspect of the story being true is very slim. It was first printed in the Heilongjiang Morning Post, a news outlet known for publishing such articles without any verification.