Deodorants cause breast cancer
Fake news is a dangerous thing. When a professor from the University of Reading in the UK published a study claiming that antiperspirants can increase the risk of breast cancer, the world ran with it – even being picked up by the BBC. The fact of the matter is that there is no conclusive correlation between deodorants and cancer, despite many studies on the topic.
Bill Gates giving away cash
Internet hoaxes can spread like wildfire. One such falsity circulated on Facebook back in 2013, claiming that if you shared an image of the billionaire tycoon, you’d receive $5000 of his wealth. Of course, the claim was unfounded, but that didn’t stop the image from being shared almost 400,000 times on the social media platform.
The War of the Worlds radio panic
The pinnacle of accidental hoaxes is Orson Welles’ radio play of HG Wells’ The War of the Worlds, which caused hysteria when it aired in 1938. The adaptation was presented as a faux news bulletin, detailing the Martians invading the Earth. Despite frequent notes that the bulletins were fictional, it didn’t stop unaware listeners from misinterpreting what they heard as a genuine news broadcast.
The Loch Ness Monster
The Loch Ness Monster has infamously been sought after for decades. Spawning dozens of supposed sightings and bringing thousands of tourists to the Scottish location over the years, many photos of the elusive beast almost look believable. Unfortunately, nothing but large fish reside in the loch, and the photographers behind the most famous pictures of the creatures eventually admitted their images were fake.
Sharing a post to keep your privacy
Popping up every few years, your Facebook news feed may occasionally be plastered with text-heavy privacy scares, claiming that the social media giant will be free to use your content as they please. The hoax scares users into posting their own refusal of Facebook’s supposed policy change – though the entire thing is completely fabricated. Don’t believe everything you read on the internet.
Fake iPhone ad
A fake Apple ad caused hundreds of people to destroy their iPhones back in 2013. The false advert – mimicking Apple’s brand style – told viewers that if they upgraded their phone to the latest software, it’d make the mobile waterproof. Of course, the advertisement was a sham, leaving those fooled by the hoax with a very expensive life lesson.
An early YouTube hoax suggested that you can charge your iPod with just a charging cable, an energy drink and an onion. Gaining over ten million views, many people attempted to try the deceiving trick, though all it resulted in was a drained music player and a sticky onion.
With rubber masks, gorilla suits, and fake, giant footprints, Bigfoot is one cultural hoax that never seems to die. Drawing on Native American folklore about a giant hairy man, Bigfoot (aka Sasquatch) was popularized in 1958 when 16 inches long were allegedly found in Humboldt County, California. To this day Bigfoot sightings are still being reported, though all these reports remain unproven.
Back in 2008, the BBC aired a convincing April Fool’s joke, depicting penguins flying across the Antarctic. Combining real footage spliced with CGI critters, the prank looked utterly convincing, fooling a large chunk of the public. To date, the hoax has 7.7 million views on the BBC’s official YouTube channel.
The internet went wild when it was reported that blond hair could disappear from the planet by 2200. Based on a report by unnamed German experts, the inaccurate findings were based on misinterpretations of recessive genetics, though it didn’t stop major platforms such as The Sunday Times, Good Morning America, and CNN from covering the baseless rumor.