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8 Hoaxes that Fooled the Internet
By KeriLynn Engel,
Who Is Hosting This, 30 June 2015.

“The greatest thing about the Internet is that you can quote something and totally make up the source,” George Washington once famously said.

(And if you believe that, we’ve got eight more absolutely true stories for you below.)

The Internet has completely revolutionized the way the world communicates - and that includes how we lie to each other.

Ever since chatting online first became popular, you could never trust that the person you were talking to really was who they said they were. Kids might believe they’re chatting with someone their own age, but actually be chatting with a much older online predator, and hopeful singles who hook up with someone they met on an online dating site might soon have their own horror stories to share.

The truth is, it’s easy to get away with lying online. When speaking to a stranger in a chat room or on social media, there’s no quick and easy way for the average person to verify what they’re saying.

And while the anonymity of the web sometimes encourages people to be more genuine, it can also encourage bad behaviour in others due to a lack of accountability.

You’d think that knowing this, the average person would be sceptical of everything they see online, but it seems that’s not the case. In many of the cases below, a hoax spread quickly because of the power of trust, or going along with the crowd. If a trusted public figure makes a believable claim, most people are likely to believe them without trying to verify the facts, which may be why American football player Manti Te’o got away with his lie for so long (see the details in the graphic below). And if most people believe something to be true, the average person will go along with the crowd, which probably had a factor in the number of reputable news organizations that reprinted high school student Mohammed Islam’s hoax without verifying it first.

What made the general public believe all the other hoaxes below? Check out the details and decide for yourself. Would you fall for their lies?

8 Hoaxes that Fooled the Internet

Infographic Sources:
New York Mag’s Boy Genius Investor Made It All Up
2. High School Student Scores $72M Playing the Stock Market
3. How This 17-Year-Old Trader Built A Rumour That Fooled New York’s Media Giants
4. Because a Stuyvesant Senior Made Millions Picking Stocks, His Hedge Fund Opens As Soon As He Turns 18
5. Top 15 Web Hoaxes of All Time
6. How to Charge an iPod Using Electrolytes and an Onion
7. Charge Your iPod with Gatorade and an Onion?
8. How to Power an iPod with an Onion (Not Really)
9. DIY Drinking Glasses from a Beer Bottle
10. Can You Power an iPod with an Onion?
11. 7 Ways to Open a Wine Bottle Without a Corkscrew!
12. Charge an iPod with an Onion
13. Strange Ways to Unlock Car Doors
14. Unlock Your Vehicle with a Tennis Ball
15. Unlock a Car Door with a Tennis Ball
16. How to Unlock Your Car with a Tennis Ball
17. Unlock Your Car Door with Tennis Ball
18. Tennis Ball Car Unlock MiniMyth
19. Huge Dog With Horse Photograph
20. Hercules, World’s Biggest Dog?
21. Hercules English Mastiff
22. Irish Firm’s Display of ‘Free-Energy’ Machine Delayed
23. Scientists Flock to Test ‘Free Energy’ Discovery
24. Steorn Shows Revolving Orbo to the Public
25. Steorn Finalises Contracts for Jury to Test Its Free Energy Technology
26. Steorn Free Energy
27. Steorn CEO Posts Video of New Device
28. Steorn Jury Issues Verdict: No Excess Energy
29. 2013: The Web’s Year of the Hoax
30. Manti Te’o’s Dead Girlfriend, The Most Heartbreaking And Inspirational Story Of The College Football Season, Is A Hoax
31. Manti Te’o Hoax
32. Hoaxer Was in Love with Manti Te’o
33. iOS 7 Doesn’t Make Your Phone Waterproof (but That Doesn’t Stop People from Trying)
34. ‘iOS 7 Makes Your IPhone Waterproof’ Ad a Scam Dunk
35. 4chan’s Fake iOS 7 Ads Convince Users to Dunk Phones in Water
36. 10 Internet Hoaxes That Fooled the World
37. Dead Fairy
38. Do Fairies Live at the Bottom of Your Garden

[Source: Who Is Hosting This. Edited.]