We like to think we aren’t easily fooled, that we’re perceptive, that we know what’s what and know what what is when we see it.
But we also love to share things online. We like to see something, and in a split-second, the exact time it takes to register the pleasure of looking at something and knowing it has to be seen by a wider audience, smash that S H A R E button, hurling it into the feeds and faces of our nearest and dearest, and also those kids from school we didn’t really know but turns out are estate agents now and seem to keep having newborns every three months.
They gotta see this classic great content. At once. You’re probably about to share this right now.
Well, just hold up a dang rooting tooting second, buddy. Do you believe everything you share online? This BuzzFeed News analysis shows that ‘fake news’ outperformed real news during the US election. Turns out Hillary hasn’t leaked your nudes to ISIS after all, dipshit.
But if the news – that medium which was traditionally supposed to be a source of facts - is lying to us online, what about those images – the ones from the ‘Funny Amazing Pics’ and ‘Happy Good Laughter History Memes’ Facebook pages you’ve been chucking about? Could they, too, be selling us down the river? Yes. Here are the ones that have mugged you right off.
Oh boy, the Mr Trump better hope nobody comes across this and widely distributes it across social media! That could be a fatal blow to his surely doomed campaign to become president! Turns out Snopes scoured the People Magazine archive, and he never actually said this. And also that it was extremely widely shared and still did nothing to stop him becoming President. Oh humans.
Is this the harrowing image of a tourist posing on the World Trade Centre seconds before the September 11th attacks, or is it actually an MS Paint job from unwitting viral prankster Peter Guzli (AKA ‘Tourist guy’), who made the pic for his friends without intending it to ‘go global’? It’s the latter, genius.
You can scan the picture for inaccuracies and cross-reference them against the facts, or you could spend exactly one second thinking: would his camera have survived the impact?
Damn, that’s a heartbreaker.
The late Alan Rickman, who starred in the Harry Potter films as the strict chemistry teacher ‘Professor Snape’, talking about his love of the classic children’s witchcraft series. It’s extra-heartbreaking because it’s something his character says in the last book about his undying devotion to his childhood crush and her son, Harry Potter.
It’s extra-extra-heartbreaking because Rickman didn’t even get to live to 80, being taken from the world at the cruel age of 69. It’s extra-extra-extra heartbreaking because he didn’t actually say it, it just emanated from Tumblr and we all fell for its charm hook, line and sinker.
At first glance, this look like a saucy snap of JFK tenderly embracing Marilyn Monroe and damning evidence of their much-rumoured evidence. On consulting the facts, it’s actually the work of the photographer Alison Jackson, whose work playfully gets lookalikes to pose for stuff like this.
Not exactly sure why you would’ve been sharing this picture of Abraham Lincoln in the first place, perhaps because you’ve been taken by a desire to share assassinated president content after your JFK blunder above, but it’s a famous and widely distributed portrait of the big man, apparently.
Except, it isn’t.
It’s actually a South Carolina politician who went by the name of John C. Calhoun and who died 1860, a year before Lincoln was even president. You’ve been posting the body of an absolute no-mark, eejit.
Those Nazis sure loved their branding, and those Nazi children sure loved their Swastika lollipops, as we can see right here, in this historical document of the time, which also happens to just be a still from the 1983 movie Eine Liebe In Deutschland. Frankly, the Nazis could well have hated lollipops for all we know.
You could believe that this was a picture taken during Hurricane Sandy. Or you could remember that that this didn’t happen, and that the film The Day After Tomorrow exists.
This is not Hercules, the Guinness World Record holder for being The World’s Biggest Ever dog, as ‘Urban Legends Expert’ David Emery debunks. Sadly.
This looks like it would be a galling visit to the aul shops. Imagine just nipping out to buy a new pair of jeans and then bam, two deadly sharks are biting at your ankles, blocking you from leaving and forcing you to spend five hours buying Millie’s Cookies because it’s the only shop on the floor you’re trapped on which isn’t trying to make you get your laptop repaired.
You’d really hate sharks. You’re probably thinking “fuck off, sharks” right now, just picturing the scene. Well, you’re being harsh mate, because this is really just a pic of a flooded scientific centre in Kuwait.
Here is Russian President Vladimir Putin riding a grizzly bear shirtless through the sea. Read that again and think “is this a thing that could have possibly happened?” Then think “No.”