5 Viral Hoaxes We Fell for in 2013

Lorraine Chow


From Loop 21 and our content partner New America Media:


You never know what's true these days thanks to the Internet and people who have too much time on their hands. You saw the outraged "SMH"'s alongside shared stories of the stiffed NJ Waitress and the Thanksgiving "plane fight" on Facebook or Twitter. Some of you might have shared these made-up stories yourself. Here are some of the best (or worst) Internet hoaxes we fell for in 2013.


Manti Te'o Catfishing Hoax

Everyone now knows what catfishing is thanks to Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te’o's online-dating hoax involving his "dead" "girlfriend." Early 2013, Deadspin broke the news that Te'o's longtime online love who allegedly died never existed in the first place. The elaborate hoax was carried out by his friend Ronaiah Tuiasosopo, who apologized and said he was in love with the linebacker.

Jimmy Kimmel's "Worst Twerk Fail EVER - Girl Catches Fire" Prank 


Back in September, late night host Jimmy Kimmel pulled off an epic prank on America that featured a video of a girl twerking upside down, falling and catching on fire. The first video was posted on YouTube and quickly went viral with 9 million views in one week. Some called it "the world's worst twerking fail" and others blamed Miley Cyrus for injecting twerking into the mainstream. Turns out it was all a FAKE -- the talking head orchestrated the whole thing with a stunt woman.



NJ Waitress Denied Tip


Social media was outraged in November when they found out the story of former marine Dayna Morales, a New Jersey waitress who claimed she received an anti-gay note instead of a tip. The alleged note on the receipt said, "Sorry, I cannot tip because I do not agree with your lifestyle and the way you live your life." Morales' story spilled over nationally and she even received thousands of dollars from kind, sympathetic people all over. Turns out Morales forged the note. Morales' unidentified diner came out to reporters and said they actually left her a handsome $18 tip on top of the $93.55 tab. They also never scrawled anything about Morales' sexuality on the receipt. Unsurprisingly, Morales is

now out of a job. Also, some donors said their money was  returned.



Thanksgiving plane fight between "Diane" and Elan Gale


It was probably a slow news day when we breathlessly followed along the live-tweeted fight between "The Bachelor" producer Elan Gale and "Diane," a nasty airplane passenger in seat 7A who caused a scene for being delayed on her Thanksgiving flight. Because we've all met "Dianes" in real life, the Internet applauded Gale for sending the offending woman handwritten notes that chastised her unruly, self-absorbed behavior. As you know by this list, he punked us all...even actor Alec Baldwin. "So many questions unanswered about Diane. In 15 minutes I will post the photo and hopefully we can resolve all this," he wrote on Twitter. He then tweeted a picture of an  empty chair and this message: "I conclude by saying hopefully a few people got a few laughs over a slow Thanksgiving weekend."



Kid's letter to Santa with HTML link

Mashable posted a squiggly, crayoned letter from an adorable tyke who wrote a letter to Santa containing an Amazon link to the gift he wanted. Our hearts melted into a puddle of snow until we found out that the letter was actually posted by Twitter user @Gequeoman. Also, as it turns out, a comedian posted it to the blog The Inclusive in 2011.


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