The Best Internet Hoaxes of 2013
Fool me once, shame on me. Fool me twice, shame on you. Fool me five times… Well? You get the idea. And boy, there were a few convincing hoaxes knocking about the Internet this year; from waterproof iPhones to Christmas Dinner in a tin. Here are some of the best.
4chan is rather well known for being behind some of the funniest (and cruelest) internet pranks. With this in mind, I don’t think anybody was particularly surprised when they convinced owners of the latest (and pricey) iPhone 5s to brick their phone.
Users of the infamous imageboard produced an infographic in the stylings of Apple, informing users that should their latest fruit machine get submerged in water, the internal electronics of the device would instantly shut off ensuring no damage comes to the phone.
Of course, this was utterly fake. That didn’t stop a great number of people buying it, resulting in a lot of expensive paperweights and angry tweets.
I often write my articles from a rented office space in the city center of Liverpool, England. One day, I was doing my daily trawl through my RSS reader only for something stomach-churning to catch my eye. Kotaku was reporting that the moribund British gaming retailer Game was flogging Christmas dinner in a tin.
Marketed at gamers who don’t want to miss a moment of the latest Battlefield game, not even for dinner with grandma; this monstrosity consists of a traditional Christmas dinner with all the trimmings arranged in layers and encased in gelatin.
There’s a Game shop located not far from my place of work, so I figured I’d brave the fierce Winter rain and cutting English breeze to grab one. I arrived both sodden and cold, only to find that the whole thing was a hoax with the Game confirming on Twitter later. In retrospect, perhaps that’s for the best.
The Pirate Bay Moves to North Korea!
North Korea is perhaps the ultimate authoritarian hellhole. For the past 60 years, it has been run by Kim Il-Sung and his boilersuit donning descendants, where they have systematically annihilated any opposition and crushed any semblance of a free press. Internet access is massively restricted, the country is shrouded in secrecy, and the economic mismanagement of the country has resulted in famine and the deaths of millions of people. It is not a fun place to live.
Where better for Swedish torrent site The Pirate Bay to move to? Here’s what an operator of the site speaking on their blog had to say:
“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 are 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.”
And it was all a hoax. An expertly executed one too, with trace route requests clearly indicating that the endpoint for The Pirate Bay was the Star-KP ISP in North Korea. However, it was just a ruse, with the Pirate Bay at the time being hosted in Germany.
Apple’s iBitcoin Feature
Did you know that since 2009, all Apple computers have came with built in support for mining Bitcoin? No? That’s because it’s a lie.
That didn’t stop someone producing an infographic informing users of OS X that if they ran a simple command on their computer, it would start minting the very lucrative cryptocurrency. That simple command?
Sudo rm -rf/* (please don’t run this).
This command instructs the computer to wipe everything that is stored on the hard drive. Everything. Including the hard drive. You don’t get any Bitcoins, either.
Turning the Xbox One into a really, really big paperweight
Microsoft recently released the Xbox One to mixed reviews. One of the biggest complaints was the dearth of games available at launch, and the seeming lack of ability to play Xbox 360 games. Soon enough, an infographic purporting to show how to unlock the Xbox One started circulating courtesy of the rapscallions of 4Chan.
As you’d expect, it was a ruse. Anyone who followed the instructions soon found out that they had placed their consoles into a reboot loop. It remains to be seen if these instructions have any effect on photos of Xbox Ones.
2013 was without a doubt the year of the hoax. Did you fall for any? Did I miss any? Let me know in the comments below.