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Top 10 Internet Hoaxes, Rumors, and Gossip Busted

Yesterday when someone posted an “article” on Facebook about the Two-Striped Telamonia Spider under the toilet seat — a hoax which is now FIFTEEN years old — we thought a “top 10 internet hoaxes” might be in order.

When you consider how big the world is, and that these reached us here in little Twin Falls, Rupert, etc, you know they’re popular (especially when you can spread any rumor you want with a click of a button).

These hoaxes were all revealed by snopes.com, whose sole purpose is to fact-check those nasty rumors circulating around the interwebs.  We’ve all probably been guilty of at least believing one or two of these, if not spreading the word ourselves… but no more!


chip somodevilla, getty images
chip somodevilla, getty images
 
FALSE.
Origin: National Review satire article
"On 15 May 2014, the National Report published an article positing that Barack Obama had (in defiance of constitutional provisions) shockingly proclaimed he would be seeking a third term as President of the United States:
President Barack Obama shocked the country this morning with news that he is running for a third term.I can't abandon the American people now when they need me more than ever," Obama told reporters at a press conference this morning. "We've come this far as a nation, now is not the time to do something different. This is the change you wanted and this is the change you’re getting." - snopes.com
 
mark wilson, getty images
mark wilson, getty images
 

FALSE.

Origin: Rumor/gossip

"Given the prominent, widespread protests and boycotts directed at Disney when it was revealed that Victor Salva, the writer-director of their 1995 film Powder (released through Disney's Hollywood Pictures subsidiary), had served time for child molestation, it stretches credulity to the breaking point to believe that the host of an extremely popular children's program on public television could have remained in that position for thirty-three years without having been hounded off the air amidst howls of condemnation from thousands of outraged parents.

A popular form of humor-cum-legend is to float a rumor that some mild-mannered, physically unimposing celebrity (such as John Denver or Don Knotts) not only served in the military, but held a position particularly known for requiring toughness and extreme mental and physical fortitude, such as a Navy SEAL, an Army Green Beret, a Marine Corps drill instructor, or an armed services sniper. Fred Rogers has also been the subject of such rumors, all of them false.Not only did Fred Rogers never serve in the military, there are no gaps in his career when he could conceivably have done so." - snopes.com
 
Parked cars
 

FALSE.

Origin: Rumor/gossip

"The May 2014 article and photographs... supposedly depict millions of brand new unsold cars, vehicles that are continuously churned out by automobile manufacturers around the world even though there is no demand for them and that end up sitting in car parks "slowly deteriorating without being maintained," forcing manufacturers to "buy more and more land just to park their cars as they perpetually roll off the production line." Although the displayed photographs are real, they are mostly several years old (reflecting conditions that existed back in 2009), and they do not now necessarily depict what is claimed in the accompanying text." - snopes.com

 
Andrejs Pidjass, Thinkstock
Andrejs Pidjass, Thinkstock
 

FALSE.

Origin: Circulated email

"This carjacking alert has been kicked from inbox to inbox since February 2004, and since then we have been following news reports for any sign of an actual carjacking — either perpetrated or merely attempted — that followed the script outlined in the widely-spread e-mailed caution, but we have yet to see evidence of so much as one." - snopes.com
 
Bananstock, Thinkstock
Bananstock, Thinkstock
 

FALSE.

Origin: A widespread tale in existence since 1989.

"Think of it this way: if you were suddenly taken ill and suspected there was something wrong with whatever you'd just eaten, the tests that would be run on you would check for salmonella, e.coli, or other typical food poisoning culprits. You wouldn't expect anyone to go looking for HIV or herpes (at least until you manifested symptoms of them), much less semen. (Also, many infectious agents, such as HIV, wouldn't survive for long outside a human host, especially after having been put through a cooking process.)" - snopes.com

 
Steve Frost, Thinkstock
Steve Frost, Thinkstock
 

FALSE.

Origin: False article

"The Credit Card Accountability Responsibility and Disclosure Act of 2009 compelled the Federal Trade Commission to provide an analysis of any technology, either then currently available or under development, which would allow a distressed ATM user to send an electronic alert to a law enforcement agency. The following statements were made in the FTC's April 2010 report in response to that requirement:

FTC staff learned that emergency-PIN technologies have never been deployed at any ATMs.  The respondent banks reported that none of their ATMs currently have installed, or have ever had installed, an emergency-PIN system of any sort. The ATM manufacturer Diebold confirms that, to its knowledge, no ATMs have or have had an emergency-PIN system." - snopes.com
 
Feng Li - Getty Images
Feng Li - Getty Images
 

Okay I feel pretty silly because I genuinely thought this was real the first time I saw it.  It doesn't have the wackiness factor of the others.  That said, it's:

FALSE.

OriginWorld News Daily Report website, which posts satirical articles.  Then circulated by social media.

 
Darren McCollester, Getty Images
Darren McCollester, Getty Images
 

Yes, a second one about Obama, and believe me, there are plenty more.  This one is:

FALSE.

Origin: Circulated via email around 2012

"The term "D-Day Monument" is non-specific and could refer to any one of a number of different sites. If the term "D-Day Monument" references any of the various monuments, memorials, or cemeteries around the sites of the 6 June 1944 Allied landings on the Normandy coast of France, then appearances by U.S. presidents at any of those sites in commemoration of D-Day have been neither a long-established tradition nor a regular occurrence — such visits are a fairly recent phenomenon, no president has made more than one visit, and President Obama is in fact among the small number of U.S. presidents who have attended D-Day anniversary ceremonies in Normandy." - snopes.com

 
Hulton Archive, Getty Images
Hulton Archive, Getty Images
 

FALSE.

Origins: An email circulated around 1999.  It was then reborn in 2002 when a bunch of details were changed and circulated via social media.

"This scare story about venomous "South American Blush Spiders" supposedly lurking under toilet seats and delivering fatal bites to the posteriors of several victims first surfaced on the Internet during the summer of 1999 has since become firmly entrenched in the realm of urban legendry — fourteen years since its original appearance, the "butt spider" warning continues to circulate widely via social media and e-mail forwards." - snopes.com

 
mark wilson, getty images
mark wilson, getty images
 

This one is strange too since it also lacks the comedy factor.  It sounds sincere, and it's about a serious topic.  Weird.

FALSE.

Origins: urban legend

Interested readers are directed to a point-by-point debunking of the "Cancer Update" e-mail published by the Kimmel Cancer Center.

 

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