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

Why Are Theater Tickets Cheaper On The West End Than On Broadway?

In London, a matinee ticket for Matilda costs about $60; in New York, it's $137. What's going on? The West End has weaker unions and subsidized theater, while Broadway has amenities.
NPR

Why Your 'Small-Batch' Whiskey Might Taste A Lot Like The Others

A food blogger says dozens of distilleries are buying rye whiskey from a factory in Indiana and using it in bottles labeled "artisan."
NPR

House Approves $16 Billion Plan To Improve Health Care For Vets

The Senate is expected to pass the measure this week. It would expand government programs and provide funds for vets who are unable to access VA services to see private doctors.
NPR

Can Pinterest Compete With Google's Search?

Pinterest has created a database of things that matter to humans. And with a programming team that's largely been hired away from Google, the company has begun offering what it calls "guided search."

Leave a Comment

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