The Internet Hoaxes That Had Us All Clicking For More | WAMU 88.5 - American University Radio
Filed Under:

The Internet Hoaxes That Had Us All Clicking For More

Play associated audio

From fake tweets to feigned poverty, the Internet was ablaze with hoaxes in 2013. Tess Lynch reported on the "rise of the hoax economy" for Grantland, calling out the biggest dupes of the year.

Lying isn't new, but the nature of the lies is changing, Lynch writes: "Our focus has shifted from the amusing to the emotional."

The emotional stories draw many in, including the media.

"I think what it says is that we still haven't figured out how to navigate consuming news online," she tells NPR's Arun Rath. "Sometimes it's harmless and fun, but then other times — especially when crowd-funding comes into play — it gets a little icky."

Here are three of her highlights:

Waitress Gets Extra Tips

New Jersey waitress Dayna Morales posted a picture of a receipt with an anti-gay comment — and no tip — on Facebook. The online community rallied to her side, donating thousands of dollars. But the customers later came forward and shared their copy of the receipt, which did include a tip and did not have the negative note.

Stuck On A Plane

On a Thanksgiving flight, television producer Elan Gale captivated his Twitter followers with accounts of a rude passenger named Diane. He even roped in news outlets. Alas, Diane was a figment of his imagination.

"This one was the one that totally got me," Lynch says. "It kind of got to the point where everyone was watching it like a reality show ... It seemed so intricate that it really didn't occur to many people that he could just be making it up. And why would he?"

The Half-Cat

Amid a constant deluge of cat memes, one cat photo tricked some into thinking it was real. A photo of a two-legged "half cat" turned out to be an altered image of a four-legged feline.

No, we don't all need to become hardened cynics, Lynch says. Her advice: "I think what it's really about is tempering that emotional response and adding a little bit of the rational response that we kind of have in our normal lives, where you take a person and you consider that person's motivations as being very layered."

Copyright 2013 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

NPR

Crime Writer Creates A Hero For Her Beloved, Much-Maligned South LA

In her new book, Rachel Howzell Hall introduces Elouise "Lou" Norton, a fiercely ambitious homicide detective who patrols the same Los Angeles streets that she — and Hall — grew up on.
NPR

Sandwich Monday: The Korean Steak Sandwich

For this week's Sandwich Monday, we try a sandwich with a cult following. It's the Korean steak from Rhea's Market and Deli in San Francisco.
WAMU 88.5

Witness List Released In McDonnell Corruption Trial

Among those on the witness list are Maureen McDonnell and the couple's three children, Sean, Rachel and Bobby.
NPR

Brothers Exploit Loopholes In Airbnb, Kickstarter

Two brothers rented a condo in Palm Springs and began claiming tenants' rights after 30 days, then threatened to sue the owner for negligence, claiming the tap water damaged their espresso machine.

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.