Facebook and Twitter make it easy to keep in touch with friends, relatives, and public figures across the globe, but theyve become so much more than that. The ability to reach a worldwide audience is now at the fingertips of anyone who logs in including lots of nefarious pranksters who get a real kick out of fooling as many people as possible into believing ridiculous things. Theyre perpetrators of internet hoaxes, deliberately crafted false stories that take advantage of our propensity to Like and Share without doing our research or checking the facts first. Check out our list of the 13 most ridiculous hoaxes ever perpetuated through social media.
The Fake Sports Journalist
In 2014, 16-Year-Old Samuel Gardiner fooled thousands of UK football fans when he pretended to be a sports journalist working for The Times and The Daily Telegraph. At the height of his popularity, Samuel Rhodes had over 20,000 followers on his Twitter account, and was re-tweeted by several sports websites.
Finally, The Times and Telegraph caught on to the fraudulent account and exposed it, but not before thousands of people read and shared his completely made-up sports updates.
Oh, and the picture he used for his Twitter account? Its actually just a stock photo of a business man.
Dutch artist Zilla Van Den Born decided to conduct a little a social experiment over Facebook. In 2014, she pretended to leave Amsterdam and travel around Asia for a few weeks. She even went as far as to have her family drop her off at the airport. But after they left, Zilla simply took the bus back home.
She used photoshop to create pictures of herself enjoying exotic locations around South East Asia, and posted them on Facebook. She was sure to stay consistent with the time difference skyping her family early in the morning from her own bedroom, which she modified slightly to look like a hotel room.
Nobody suspected a thing for the whole five week period. Apparently, its incredibly easy to fake a vacation.
Manti Teo Non-Existent Kove Interest
Chargers linebacker Manti Teo was the victim of an unfortunate hoax between the years of 2011 and 2012. During that time, he was in a long-distance relationship with a woman named Lennary Kekua. When her Facebook account indicated she had suddenly died, Teo was absolutely heartbroken. News outlets and social media users showed support for the grieving football player.
The truly heartbreaking part of this story? Lennary Kekua, the woman Teo had been in love with for a whole year, never even existed. She was actually a persona made up by 22-year old Ronaiah Tuissosopop. He used a photo of a high school friend to represent the imaginary woman on Facebook.
Tuissosopop says he really did fall in love with Teo, but found himself in too deep, and thus decided to fake Lennarys death.