These Popular Viral Stories Have One Thing in Common — They’re 100% Fake

These Popular Viral Stories Have One Thing in Common — They’re 100% Fake

You can’t trust everything in your Facebook feed. Thanks to, ahem, certain events from the past two years, people are finally becoming more aware of how easy it is to make fake memes, create Internet hoaxes, and spread mistruths. But hey, it’s 2018 now. You’d think we’d be a lot savvier by now when it comes to not falling for videos that were obviously produced by some marketing company. But you’ll be surprised how many of the biggest viral stories from the past few years were completely fabricated or even outright hoaxes — and yes, we fell for all of them. Below, a few viral stories you had no idea were fake.

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When Alan Rickman passed away in 2016, the Internet was flooded with photos and quotes to commemorate the late Harry Potter star. However, one of the most shared quotes wasn’t even real. It was a fake quote created by a fan on Tumblr. And another little fact to put a dagger in your Snape-loving heart? Alan never read the Harry Potter books.

WENT BACK TO KFC YESTERDAY AND SPOKE TO THE MANAGER SHE SAID IT IS A RAT AND APOLOGIZED, IT’S TIME FOR A LAWYER!!! BESAFE DON’T EAT FAST FOOD !!!

Posted by Devorise Dixon on Friday, June 12, 2015

Back in 2015, Devorise Dixon shared this nightmarish picture of a fried rat he found in a box of chicken tenders purchased from KFC. As the entire Internet dry heaved, KFC decided to test the “rat” at an independent lab. The results came back that the fried rodent was in fact chicken. Whew

Unfortunately, that fried rat head found at a Popeye’s was 100 percent real. 

Earlier this month, everyone couldn’t stop sharing a script from a fake Olive Garden commercial. Created by writer Keaton Patti, he tweeted that he made a robot watch hours of Olive Garden commercials and then had the bot generate a script. Although most of the Internet (ourselves included) thought the script was written by a real robot, it actually wasn’t. Artificial Intelligence is advanced, but it’s not that advanced.

“I wish people wouldn’t present these fakes as bot-written. Actual AI-written text just isn’t that coherent,”  scientist Janelle Shane explained on Twitter. “Neural nets learn by example. If you show it 1,000 hours of video (assuming 120,000 unique 30-sec Olive Garden commercials exist), you’ll get video out, not a script with stage directions.”

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This Facebook post from actress Meryl Streep’s Facebook made the rounds back in 2015. It was an uplifting post about an experience where an Italian director told her she was “too ugly” for a role. “Today I have 18 Academy Awards,” the post concluded. How inspiring! Too bad it wasn’t real, nor did it even come from Meryl’s real Facebook page (because she doesn’t have one).

Instead, the post was written by a fan. The incident, however, was a real one. Meryl told the story on The Graham Norton Show in 2015. According to her, while auditioning for a part in King Kong, Italian producer Dino De Laurentiis remarked in Italian, “Why do you bring me this ugly thing?” Meryl then replied, also in Italian, “I’m sorry I’m not beautiful enough to be in King Kong.”

Although the story was a real one, the actual Facebook post and the accompanied picture (which was not taken at the same time as her audition) were fake, and the account was later suspended for violation.

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Who remembers the time Paris Hilton pissed off the whole Internet with her tone-deaf shirt that mockingly blared, “Stop being poor”? Although the photo provided fuel for her haters, the picture was actually Photoshopped. The real picture showed her wearing a shirt that said, “Stop being desperate.” Yikes — we owe Paris an apology.

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This story was everywhere back in 2013, and the picture still makes the rounds on Facebook, but it’s #fakenews. 

According to a report in The Irish Times, a Chinese man sued his wife after she gave birth to a ridiculously ugly baby. After initially thinking his wife cheated on him, the wife confessed to having $ 100,000 worth of plastic surgery before they met, hence why the baby looked so different.

As hilarious as the story was, the report was completely fabricated by some Chinese newspaper, which was then picked up by other outlets. The picture that accompanied the story was a completely unrelated ad for a Taiwanese plastic surgery center. Taiwanese model Heidi Yeh posed for the family shot with three children whose faces were digitally altered. The text on the ad said, “The only thing you’ll ever have to worry about is how to explain it to the kids.”

However, the Internet has been circulating the picture for years thinking it’s real, much to Heidi’s dismay. She confessed in 2015 that the viral story has ruined her life and her career. “I realized the whole world was spreading it and in different languages,” she told the BBC. “People actually thought it was real. Even my then-boyfriend’s friends would ask about it.” 

Despite reports debunking the story, the picture still gets shared on social media even today.

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Back in 2014, one of the most vulgar memes involved drunken men loudly shouting “F–k her right in the p—y!” during live news broadcasts. It was incredibly tasteless, annoying, and drove newscasters crazy. And to make matters worse, the meme was ignited by a hoax.

Internet jokester John Cain created a fake video of a man, dressed in a hoodie and sunglasses, grabbing a microphone from a reporter and screaming the offensive phrase during a live broadcast. Even Gawker at the time reported that the video was a hoax. “These videos are terrible ‘viral’ hoaxes, and you should ignore them until they go away,” Jay Hathaway wrote.

But they didn’t go away. For the rest of that year, drunken sports fans, 12-year-old boys, and college hooligans delighted themselves in shouting the phrase every time they saw a camera. So, in a way, even though the meme started off as a hoax, through its popularity it morphed into a bonafide real meme. But still — ew.

Aww, although this was the most adorable viral story from 2015, this Japanese trend of owners trimming their dogs’ hair so that they look like cubes was largely false. First of all, the pictures came from a Taiwanese grooming store, not from Japan. Secondly, all the pictures (all three of them) only came from that one shop, which hardly counts as some newfangled “craze” or “trend.” Of course, that didn’t stop sites like Boing Boing and MTV from running the story anyway. Unfortunately, it’s just not true.

Pizza rat, in case you forgot, was a little rat, captured on camera by comedian Mike Little, dragging a slice of pizza down the subway steps. It was probably the most New York meme ever created and spurred dozens of Halloween costumes and Internet jokes. However, as much as it pains us to write this, Pizza Rat was fake.

The whole thing was a hoax by performance artist Zardulu, who told The Washington Post that she trained the rat to carry the pizza down the steps. The anonymous artist also took credit for other viral stories, like “selfie rat” and “raccoon riding an alligator.”

“In my art, I use highly trained rats to symbolize the shadow archetype and the subway as a symbol of our unconscious minds,” Zardulu revealed to Gothamist in a bizarre video. “I trained a rat to drag a piece of pizza down the subway stairs. Why has this become one of the most prolific videos of our generation? I believe because it symbolically completes us by incorporating our shadow into our conscious minds.”

Ooookay.

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Last year, Texas student JosephLongoria tweeted this bizarre photo of his teacher spying on the class by hiding in the ceiling during an exam. “My teacher left the room during a test so we all started sharing answers,” he tweeted. “Then I look up and she was staring right at me.” The photo instantly went viral, but Joseph later told Buzzfeed News that he made the whole thing up.

“I just had it along with the rest of my pictures,” he said. “I was deleting them because ya know, storage almost full, iPhone probs. So I decided to make it into a meme.”

As for the woman in the ceiling, no one knows who she is or where the picture originated from. Weird.

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This Viral Video Of A 4-Year-Old Boy Handling A Gun Caused A Huge Uproar Online

Gun control is a hotly debated issue in America and one that is sure to make the comments section on any video or article go absolutely insane.

In fact, people feel so passionately about the issue that some have gone so far to concoct conspiracy theories stating the victims of school shootings are “crisis actors” or they make up the “true origins” of shooters.

One point that a lot of gun control proponents bring up is the fact that the number of toddlers who kill and are killed by guns in American every year is ridiculously high: higher in 2015-2017, for example, than the number of people who were killed by acts of terrorism in the US.

So you can only imagine the online fury that was created after this video of 4-year-old Maverick cocking and pulling the trigger of a rifle at an NRA convention went viral.

The child was approached by huntress and outdoorswoman Kendall Jones who asked the young boy to show her what he can do with the gun. He then demonstrates his understanding and ability to engage the gun’s bolt and trigger mechanism, then unloads and loads the rifle’s magazine.

“That is adorable,” Jones says at the end of the video clip she posted on her Twitter account.

Kendall’s video of Maverick was posted with the caption, “This video is INCREDIBLE! Parenting done RIGHT.”

And there were a bunch of people who agreed with her and praised the 4-year-old’s parent’s decision to bring him to an NRA convention.

But there was an overwhelmingly negative response to Jones’ tweet – many of them from self-proclaimed gun enthusiasts and firearm owners themselves.

Many said that the child was treating the gun as a toy and wasn’t taught the proper way to handle or respect a firearm by his parents at all.

Others felt that there was a clear double-standard when it came to the young boy handling this gun, and that it was disturbing that he viewed handling the firearm like it’s a game.

Some thought that video was sending a dangerous message to children and couldn’t believe that the tenets of the NRA shifted away from gun safety.

It’s rare that a “pro-gun” video receives criticism from those who are pro gun ownership, but both “Libs” and “Cons” seemed to be on the same page with a 4-year-old demonstrating a lack of respect for guns and encouragement by adults for doing so.

What do you think?

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Girl Gets Fired From Her Job At Target After Prank Goes Viral

Pranks are the worst, but when executed correctly, they can get you a lot of attention. Bad attention.

Twitter user @Delilah810 found this out the hard way, after her “prank” on her best friend in the parking lot of a Target went viral. In it, she pushed that friend, who is sitting in a shopping cart, into a push. It looks pretty gnarly, but the friend was apparently unscathed:

They look like they’re having a blast, to be fair, but it’s a pretty dangerous thing to do. Darn, I sound old!

@Deliliah810’s tweet was doing pretty well already, but then she added an update:

Wow, no kidding.

She seems chill with it, though. Maybe because she’s managed to maintain her friendship, despite everything:

Though many of @Deliliah810’s fans are just run of the mill Twitter users who love a good parking lot disaster vid, there are also a wholllllle lotta people who work at or once worked at Target, too.

Man, if getting thrown into a push is what happens on a work day, what do Target employees get up to at a barbecue?

But there are plenty of people who are enjoying this story even if they have no personal association with Target.

It’s very meme-able:

And they’re loving her, no matter what she’s done:

Because they hate Target:

Don’t worry, there are plenty of other companies that could use @Delilah810’s skills:

Find your path and follow it!

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This Professor's Viral Tweets Explain Trump's Social Media Use

In the opinion of many, Donald Trump was able to win the election because of a carefully targeted social media campaign that focused on building a database of users and attacking those with ads and media, rather than focusing on pre-existing demographics.

By constantly vilifying Hillary Clinton, Trump managed to not only get people who liked and supported him to be mobilized to vote, but get a lot of voters who were on the fence to believe that anything would be better than voting for Hillary. To this day, I have family members who admit that they think Trump is an absolute moron and is unfit to be President, but that their hands were tied because Hillary was so evil they couldn’t vote for her.

As President, Trump hasn’t been able to do much aside from make headlines for erroneous, offensive, and borderline insane claims. When he does apologize for saying something wrong, he tends to sidestep the blame and place it on other sources, like the time he wrongly claimed an attack in Sweden was spearheaded by a Muslim immigrant. It wasn’t. So he said he wasn’t at fault because he saw it on Fox News.

Although Trump’s use of his Twitter account might seem like the ramblings of a mad uncle who trolls YouTube comments and parrots Alex Jones conspiracy theories, it turns out there may be a pretty brilliant strategy behind  his postings.

University of Berkeley Professor, George Lakoff, laid out Trump’s social media strategy after scrutinizing the President’s reactionary post patterns. Donald’s tweets, according to Lakoff, fall into one of four categories.

He provided examples of each and explains them in-depth.

According to this professor, almost all of the tactics employed by Trump are heavily rooted in deceit, lies, side-stepping issues or blaming them on others.

The first tactic, “pre-emptive framing” allows Trump to frame an argument that isn’t really rooted in fact or ends up making a mountain out of a mole-hill. An example of this would be Hillary Clinton’s housing of White House emails on a private server. Notice how Trump’s outrage at this practice stops at Clinton, as him and his administration are doing the same thing

Trump is able to get his message across after making such a bold claim because sites help disseminate his brazen idiocy. His supporters will inevitably come to Trump’s aid and vehemently attack anyone who attacks him fomenting an even greater hullabaloo over what he said. This theory suggests that Trump doesn’t care at the end of the day because, as the old saying goes: there’s no such thing as bad publicity.

Unfortunately, the media turned him into the popularity monster, love him or hate him, that he eventually became.

Because we’re constantly talking about him, we’re legitimizing him as a figure. Doesn’t matter if we think he’s a joke, we’re still talking about him, usually more than anything or anyone else outside of our immediate relationships with family and friends.

Pointing out Trump’s flaws and lies are seen as attacks by his loyal fan base and in a way, justifies the false, pre-emptive narrative that there’s a “crusade” against him. “Mainstream Media” and “Fake News” can bring up all the valid, backed-up sources and evidence that they want, oftentimes bringing up Trump’s old quotes and footage to show his hypocrisy, but much of his fanbase ultimately sees these as “attacks” and give them more reason to back the president.

Lakoff points out that reacting to Trump in this way and taking the low-hanging fruit isn’t an effective means of discrediting him. By “stooping” down to his level, we’re legitimizing his medium of communication and are thus legitimizing him.

Instead, Lakoff thinks that Trump’s bold claims should be met with this appropriate response:

Instead, if us, as the media, focused on things that actually matter, like how our government is tearing apart at the seams and not this drama fomented by a blowhard, we’d be able to lay the groundwork for some meaningful change.

So Lakoff proposed a simple three step plan for journalists and news commentators to follow:

Simply don’t share what he writes, and you’ll immediately help to focus on what is actually important.

Or we could laugh at him because he has small hands and tweets nonsensical words like “covfefe.” What do you think?

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Blinking White Guy' From Viral Meme Goes On TV To Talk About What It Did To Him

You may not know Drew Scanlon by name, but you definitely know him by face if you’ve spent any time whatsoever online in 2017. Scanlon is a video and podcast producer for the website Giant Bomb, and though he was well-known in the gaming world, it was his incredulous expression that launched him into the Meme Hall of Fame.

The gif of Scanlon comes from a video he made for Giant Bomb over four years ago, according toMashable, where he’s listening to a man describe his virtual farming habits. The guy says he with his “hoe,” and it looks like Scanlon’s mind jumps right out of the farmyard.

But the gif of his blink didn’t get really popular until 2017. Perhaps because it’s now in so many situations:

The problem with memes of people, is that they keep existing and have to deal with everyone knowing their face. Scanlon went on Good Morning America to remind everyone that he is a human person who does more than blink, though that’s pretty much what he was reduced to again:

They even tried to get him to recreate it, but it’s not quite there:

Hey, he’s a producer, not an actor. Those blinks came from a real place and can’t be recreated.

“We don’t really have a way of communicating body language over the internet, with text or anything, and memes are kind of that,” says Scanlon. Guess he doesn’t resent it too much? Thanks for letting us use your face for what can’t be expressed in words. 

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John McCain Honors WWII Navajo Code Talkers In Viral Tweet–And Slams Trump In The Process

On Monday, Donald Trump held a ceremony at the White House to honor the bravery of the Navajo code talkers, who served alongside U.S. Marines during World War II.

But even as he praised their service, Trump couldn’t help injecting politics into the mix, using the event to slam Democratic U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren, whom he regularly refers to derogatorily as ‘Pocahontas’:

The backlash to Trump’s comment was fierce, but perhaps no one captured the outrage we felt at that moment better than Senator John McCain, whose tweet both honored the code talkers and slammed Trump for politicizing the moment:

And Twitter was clearly standing with McCain…

Some couldn’t help but recall that Trump himself has never served:

Robin felt that McCain could have gone further:

And Don felt Trump’s choice of backdrop for the ceremony was another intentional slight:

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Old 'Family Guy' Episode With Creepy Joke About Kevin Spacey Goes Viral

People who work in the industry or have friends who do, always hear these rumors about rich and powerful executives, actors, producers, directors, and the double lives in they lead.

McFarlane hinted at this during a 2013 Oscars joke.

Seth McFarlane somehow called Kevin Spacey’s alleged behavior way back in 2005 in this Family Guy clip that features a nude Stewie running through a clothing store, screaming about being trapped in Kevin Spacey’s basement.

Everyone was pretty much unanimous in decrying Spacey’s decision to come out as a “smokescreen” from the fact that he once allegedly attempted sexual advances on a minor.

Others were shocked at how well Spacey’s “ploy” is working.

While others were just shocked that Spacey would conflate an archaic stereotype of homosexuals “lusting” after young boys. 

There are tons of other people who’ve criticized the way Spacey came out. And as painful as it is for survivors like Rapp to come out and share their stories, it’s an important step in ensuring that inappropriate sexual advances are not tolerated, no matter how talented, rich, or powerful the individual.

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People Are Losing It Over This Viral NSFW Wedding Photo

A Dutch photographer name Michel Klooster has got everyone clutching their pearls with this very naughty wedding photo of a couple that just could not wait to get to the honeymoon suite. The image has gone viral because of the very convincing simulation of oral sex:

Klooster also took a shot of the same couple canoodling in the back of a car, but after that suggestive pic, it seems comparatively innocent:

Klooster toldThe Huffington Post that the image was not his idea at all. It was the mother of the bride’s concept.

“We were taking photos and she [told] me that they wanted that kind of picture, but the bride and groom didn’t dare ask me,” he wrote to them in a Facebook message. “Then I just said, ‘Of course, we are gonna do it.’ So I suggested where they need to stand for the right vibe!”

There has been something of an outcry from people who think Klooster and his naughty pic are what’s wrong with the world today, but he thinks everyone’s got their panties in a twist over nothing.

“You see nothing in this picture, but it looks like something is going on there,” he said. “Every picture you’ll take with that kind of question is interesting to watch. For me, sex is one of the most natural things we do in life. It’s normal! Everyone does it. We don’t live in the 1900s anymore.”

He added that, “there are bigger problems in the world than this funny picture.” Also, though there are a fair number of people who don’t like it, a whole bunch do. Klooster says he’s been contacted by lots of couples who want him to shoot their wedding, and a few other scenarios.

“If it’s not porn, I don’t have any problems with that,” he said.

Do you think the picture is pure smut? Or do you agree with Klooster that it’s harmless fun?

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Teacher's Trick To Make Girls Getting Their Periods In School Comfortable Goes Viral

A middle school teacher figured out an awesome way to help her students deal with getting an unexpected visit from the menstruation fairy, and wrote a post about her method on Facebook that went viral for its inspirationally easy trick.

“I have been doing this for a little bit now,” the post says. “I use my old ipsy make up bags and make “menstruation care packs” for my students who start their periods unexpectedly. In middle school this happens A LOT. I put a few pads in the bag and a couple tampons and panty liners, and I also add a few prewrapped disposable wipes. The students know that they can come ask, and they get a really pretty bag with their needed supplies inside. It’s discreet and more fun that being handed a giant pad. I make sure to tell them to take as much as they may need for the whole day. I make a point to ask if they need more to take home.”

The post was shared on Facebook over 10,000 times, and has inspired some teachers and parents to follow suit. Like this adorable grandpa: “Me be male, and not need such items, however, I do have a daughter (and 2 granddaughters) that have seen those days. I had to deal with the fluctuating hormones though! I will be putting together some of these “care” packages, and giving them to teachers in my area!” (He’s not sure what an Ipsy bag is, though—y’all, it’s a cheap makeup bag that comes every month as part of Ipsy, a makeup subscription box).

It’s a great reminder that young girls getting their periods doesn’t have to be a big dramatic thing or a source of embarrassment—it can be a normalized part of their day, as long as they’re set up for that.

After all, getting your period sucks enough as it is without worrying that you don’t have a pad or tampon available.

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Student Snaps A Viral Photo Of Her Classmate With A Racist Pep Rally Sign

In a Facebook post that was shared over 3,000 times, a Hispanic teen shared an image of several of her classmates at a pep rally, one holding up a sign that read, “Put the panic back in Hispanic.” Another held a Trump campaign flag. Pep rallies are sure different than they were when I was a teen, huh?

“This happened yesterday at our school pep rally,” wrote the teen, Jennifer Lopez Vazquez. “They know it’s Hispanic Month. That’s very disrespectful in so my ways. But it’s funny to think that our school thinks it ‘OKAY’ this is Honestly what white trash looks like.”

The original caption on image, which was posted on Instagram by one of the teens in the photo, read, “Put the Panic back in Hispanic. #dontgetButthurt I’m honestly not gonna care if you do anyways so!! #sorryboutit.”

She might be sorry now, though. Since the photo has gone viral, local newspapers have picked up the story, and school administrators are investigating the behavior. 

“We are aware of a photo that appears to be taken at a Robertsdale High School football pep rally Friday Sept. 15 that is circulating on social media containing political banners and unacceptable language,” said the school’s superintendent in a statement. “School administrators, as well as my office, are following up on the matter.”

Basically: yikes. Also, high school students, you’re too young and under-developed to start experimenting with edgy “comedy.” (Like, what is the joke here, exactly?) Save it for the professionals.

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