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Italian social media is all abuzz with the news that the European Commission is offering to pay any EU family 1500 euro a month to host a political refugee from Ukraine — but particularly to host young Ukrainian women "who have always been discriminated against for trivial reasons." In response, many men are taking to Twitter/Facebook and are selflessly offering to host a young Ukrainian woman without receiving any compensation at all!

Unfortunately the offer isn't real. The story comes from an Italian fake news site: Giornale del Corriere. [via blog sicilia]

Categories: Social Networking Sites
Posted by Alex on Thu Mar 06, 2014
Comments (0)
Italian social media was buzzing recently with word of the discovery of a narrow tunnel, over 2000 years old, running beneath the Strait of Messina (the body of water between the mainland of Italy and Sicily).


The tunnel was believed to have been built by the Romans during the Punic wars (264-241 BC) as a passageway for troops. It was discovered by workers doing construction on a highway.

But the story turns out to have come from an Italian fake news site called Dangerous News. One of the tunnel photos came from an Aug 2011 Daily Mail article about the discovery of mysterious stone-age tunnels in Bavaria. [link: canicattiweb.com]

The larger context for this hoax is the on-again/off-again attempts to build a bridge over the Strait of Messina (plans to build such a bridge have been announced twice, and cancelled twice). So the joke would be that the Roman tunnel is nonexistent, just like the modern bridge.

It reminds me of the jokes that used to be made in the British media about tunnels beneath the English Channel, before the Chunnel was completed. Such as the supposed discovery of a "Napoleonic Chunnel" in 1988 (an April Fool's Day joke).

Categories: History, Social Networking Sites
Posted by Alex on Fri Feb 21, 2014
Comments (0)
Categories: Social Networking Sites
Posted by Alex on Wed Jan 22, 2014
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One of the easiest ways to attract attention online is to claim to have done something shocking or disturbing. It's also known as trolling. A case in point is a young woman (using the twitter account @illumivato) who recently claimed that she killed her dog because the British pop group One Direction wouldn't follow her on Twitter.

She first sent them a tweet asking them to follow her "or I'll break my dog's neck." Then, when they inevitably ignored her, she followed this up with a tweet showing herself cradling her dead dog. [nydailynews.com]

But as David Emery points out, the picture of her and her dog dates back a couple of months. Plus, she's been making similar threats via tweet for quite a while.

In other words, we can safely dismiss her as just another disturbed, attention-seeking individual online. And she got the attention she wanted. She also admitted via tweet a few days ago, "Are people still going on about this f*cking dog thing, I was trolling!!!! STOP." And then twitter suspended her account.

Categories: Gross, Social Networking Sites
Posted by Alex on Sat Sep 14, 2013
Comments (0)
On Monday, The Pirate Bay issued a press release on its blog announcing that it was moving to North Korea:

PRESS RELEASE, NEW PROVIDER FOR TPB
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE, 3 MARCH 102, 평양 (PYONGYANG).

The Pirate Bay has been hunted in many countries around the world. Not for illegal activities but being persecuted for beliefs of freedom of information. Today, a new chapter is written in the history of the movement, as well as the history of the internets...
Today we can reveal that we have been invited by the leader of the republic of Korea, to fight our battles from their network.
This is truly an ironic situation. We have been fighting for a free world, and our opponents are mostly huge corporations from the United States of America, a place where freedom and freedom of speech is said to be held high. At the same time, companies from that country is chasing a competitor from other countries, bribing police and lawmakers, threatening political parties and physically hunting people from our crew. And to our help comes a government famous in our part of the world for locking people up for their thoughts and forbidding access to information.

As part of the move, the site added a North Korean flag onto the sails of its pirate ship logo. And those who investigated its IP address found that it did indeed seem to be originating out of North Korea.


But yesterday, The Pirate Bay revealed on its facebook page that the move was just a joke. It explained the hoax as their way of demonstrating the need for critical thinking skills:

We've hopefully made clear (once again) that we don't run TPB to make money. A profit hungry idiot (points at MAFIAA with a retractable baton) doesn't tell the world that they have partnered with the most hated dictatorship in the world. We can play that stunt though, cause we're still only in it for the fuckin lulz and it doesn't matter to us if thousands of users disband the ship.
We've also learned that many of you need to be more critical. Even towards us. You can't seriously cheer the "fact" that we moved our servers to bloody North Korea. Applauds to you who told us to fuck off. Always stay critical. Towards everyone!


Categories: Social Networking Sites
Posted by Alex on Wed Mar 06, 2013
Comments (0)
On the internet nobody knows if you're a dog. And on Facebook, nobody knows if you're really a 104-year-old woman... because Facebook won't accept 104 as a valid age!

Woman, 104, forced to lie about age on Facebook
dailyherald.com

Marguerite Joseph can be forgiven for lying about her age on Facebook. The 104-year-old Michigan woman's granddaughter says Joseph is unable to list her real age on the social media site. Gail Marlow says when she tries inputting her grandmother's birth year as 1908, Facebook changes it to 1928. So for the past two years, the Grosse Pointe Shores centenarian has remained 99 — online, anyway.
Categories: Identity/Imposters, Social Networking Sites
Posted by Alex on Mon Feb 25, 2013
Comments (3)
Below is a picture of Bill Gates that's been circulating on Facebook. Can anyone really believe they'll get $5000 if they share the photo? Or is it being shared as a joke? Since I'm feeling charitable, I'll believe the latter.


The picture is a doctored version of a picture posted by Gates during a recent AMA on reddit. Note that in addition to changing the sign he's holding, the reddit toy on the desk behind him has been replaced by what looks like a sex toy. (via David Emery)

Categories: Photos/Videos, Social Networking Sites
Posted by Alex on Sat Feb 16, 2013
Comments (4)
Hey, did you hear that Christopher Dorner somehow survived yesterday's shootout? Yeah, apparently the charred remains inside the cabin have been identified as female, not male! No credible news sources are reporting this, but there's a blurry TV screenshot of a CNN newscast circulating on twitter & facebook that says it, so it must be true!

Categories: Law/Police/Crime, Social Networking Sites
Posted by Alex on Wed Feb 13, 2013
Comments (4)

Ipswich City councillor Andrew Antoniolli posted on facebook that this would be the new sign at the Ipswich Mall — warning people, in a visually economical way, of all the things they couldn't do there. A local radio station believed him, but it was actually just a joke image downloaded from the internet. No idea what the original source of the image was.
Categories: Photos/Videos, Social Networking Sites
Posted by Alex on Tue Feb 12, 2013
Comments (0)
A picture of a letter detailing a blatantly racist policy supposedly adopted by a Toronto-area high school, Richview Collegiate Institute, was all over Twitter recently. The letter reads:

Dear teachers and students,
As of late the safety of our students' has been brought into question. Due to a frequent increase in student robberies and fights this letter has been sent out to inform students on safety precautions that are to be taken to protect their well being. Personal belongings are to be kept with you at all times. Do not leave any belongings in the change room as they may be stolen. In the halls avoid eye contact with African-American students. They have a higher chance of becoming aggressive when confronted. Due to their aggressiveness African-American students will be made to pay an extra fee of $1.50 per purchase in the cafeteria.



Of course, the letter is fake. The school doesn't yet know who created it, but students are being interviewed to track down the culprit. Parents have been warned about the hoax. A school trustee commented, "Whereas 30 years ago, someone might have done something stupid like this and made 30 copies and distributed them, now it gets on Twitter and it goes all over." [thestar.com]

The hoax letter echoed the "Seriously McDonalds" hoax (below... so named because that's how the image was usually captioned) that went viral back in June 2011.

Categories: Hate Crimes/Terror, Photos/Videos, Social Networking Sites
Posted by Alex on Tue Feb 12, 2013
Comments (0)
Yet another example of a celebrity imposter masquerading online. In this case, the imposter evidently thought their deception was for a worthy cause. Nevertheless, it's still a deception.

Fake Ed Asner Endorses Struggling Dormont Theater
CBS Pittsburgh

The Facebook post from the fake Ed Asner page reads "Help the Hollywood Theater! One of Pittsburgh's last historic neighborhood cinemas. I have found memories of visiting this venue as a much younger man while visiting relatives. I'll double every donation!" Theater manager Chad Hunter was excited but skeptical when he saw the post. He tried sending a thank you message to Asner via the social media website but never heard back. That's when he got suspicious. A representative for "Charles Sherman Public Relations" who represents Asner says the page is fake and that the actor has never had a Facebook page.

Categories: Celebrities, Identity/Imposters, Social Networking Sites
Posted by Alex on Fri Feb 08, 2013
Comments (0)
In the 1989 movie Back to the Future Part II, Marty McFly and Doc Brown use the time-traveling Delorean to travel from 1985 to October 21, 2015. In the movie, this date is briefly seen displayed on the car's onboard time monitor. So Oct 21, 2015 is officially "Future Day," when Marty McFly will arrive in what will then be the present.


But people don't want to wait that long, so hoaxers keep setting "Future Day" to a date closer at hand. The first time this happened was in 2010, when Total Film magazine mistakenly declared July 5, 2010 to be Future Day — and then created a fake image to back up their claim. They meant it as a joke, but a lot of people took it seriously. (telegraph.co.uk)


More recently, Simply Tap (makers of a mobile checkout app) declared on Facebook that June 27, 2012 was Future Day (they were promoting a box set of Back to the Future DVDs), and they also created an image to back up this claim, which once again began to circulate online. (slate.com)


So the real Future Day is still three years, but that seems like plenty of time to fit in a few more fake Future Days before it finally arrives.



(Thanks, Joe!)
Categories: Future/Time, Social Networking Sites
Posted by Alex on Thu Jun 28, 2012
Comments (2)
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