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David Emery

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Marquez 'Farewell Letter' Is Touching, But Fake

Saturday April 19, 2014

Gabriel Garcia Marquez
Gabriel García Márquez
Paco Junquera / Cover / Getty Images

The great Colombian novelist Gabriel García Márquez died last week at the age of 87, leaving behind a much-admired body of work including One Hundred Years of Solitude and Love in the Time of Cholera. He was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1982.

Another work he's purported to have left behind is a poetic "Farewell Letter" currently making the rounds via social media, which begins, in this particular translation, "If God, for a second, forgot what I have become and granted me a little bit more of life, I would use it to the best of my ability. I wouldn't, possibly, say everything that is in my mind, but I would be more thoughtful of all I say."

But though it's signed, "Your Friend, Gabriel García Márquez," in fact he did not write the syrupy, cliché-ridden poem and even dismissed it in a newspaper interview a few years back as "cheesy." Read More...

No, Teens Aren't Smoking Bed Bugs to Get High

Friday April 18, 2014

Smoking Bed Bugs
Via YouTube

Mea culpa. I thought by now most folks had gotten the memo on the bed bugs hoax, but apparently not. I'm still seeing posts to the effect that smoking bed bugs to get high has reached epidemic proportions among teens. The truth of the matter is that the "news video" going around was cobbled together from existing footage as a prank. Nobody is smoking bed bugs. And even if they were, they wouldn't be getting high. Read the details...

IT'S A HOAX: Miley Cyrus Tested Positive for HIV

Wednesday April 16, 2014

Miley Cyrus HIV hoax

Contrary to spurious headlines proliferating via social media, Miley Cyrus canceled a couple of concerts this week after being diagnosed with the flu, not HIV. At last report she was in the hospital after suffering an allergic reaction to flu medication, but she is otherwise okay and doctors expect her to live to twerk another day. Read more...

Hey, Internet! The Undertaker Isn't Dead!

Tuesday April 15, 2014

Undertaker Dead

Despite whatever eye-popping headlines you may find in your news feed this week, pro wrestler Mark "The Undertaker" Calaway was not found dead in his Houston home on April 11, 2014. Consider the source of the report, Empire Sports News, which bills itself as "a satire and entertainment website" and is infamous for previous "scoops" such as "Michael Vick Hospitalized in Pit Bull Attack" and "Blake Griffin Smacks Justin Bieber at Hollywood Starbucks."

Fake news is rampant on the Internet. Bogus celebrity death reports pop up every single day. Too many people share stories online they haven't even read, let alone checked for accuracy.

Google is your friend. Use it!

More fake news:
Miley Cyrus Tests Positive for HIV
Justin Bieber Admits to Being Bisexual
"The Rock" Dies Filming Deadly Stunt

Remedial reading:
Don't Be Fooled! A Guide to Fake News Websites
Top 10 Funniest Celeb Responses to Fake Death Reports

What's With the 'Blood Moon' On April 15?

Thursday April 10, 2014

Blood Moon
Lars Baron / Getty Images

"Blood Moon" is a term of folklore with more than one meaning, sometimes referring to any full moon that occurs in October (also known as a "Full Hunter's Moon") and sometimes referring to any total lunar eclipse, during which the moon is likely to turn dark red in color as the earth's shadow crosses its face.

As it happens, there's a total lunar eclipse on April 14-15, 2014, which means we'll experience not only a "Full Pink Moon" (any full moon that occurs in April, per Native American tradition) and a "Paschal Full Moon" (the first full moon after the vernal equinox, per Christian tradition), but also, thanks to the eclipse, a "Blood Moon." Read More...

Did Justin Bieber Admit to Being Bisexual? Nope, It's 'Satire.'

Monday April 7, 2014

HoaxThey call it "satire," but much of what circulates by that name these days is pure, tabloid-style gossip-mongering. Take the story "Justin Bieber Admits to Being Bi-Sexual," published on the fake news website Huzlers.com a few days ago. It's accompanied by a Photoshopped picture purporting to show Bieber locking lips with fellow teen idol Austin Mahone. The smooch never really took place, nor did Bieber tweet that Mahone is his new "boyfriend." But you kinda-sorta knew that, right? Read more...

Dwayne Johnson ISN'T Dead. Don't Fall for the Scam!

Sunday April 6, 2014

RIP DWAYNE JOHNSON (1972 - 2014) Watch how Dwayne Johnson died filming a stunt for FAST & FURIOUS 7

Dwayne Johnson is alive and well in New Orleans (and has kicked ass on death hoaxes before), but scammers are eager to have you to think he died filming a movie stunt so you'll share their bogus status updates (helping to spread the scam) and click on links that redirect you to pages outside of Facebook (compromising the security of both your account and your computer).

These "clickjacking" scams abound in social media (see the list of recent examples below). When blurbs like the one above promising lurid and shocking content for free show up in your news feed, don't click, just delete. Advise your friends and contacts to do the same. Read More...

No, Facebookers, Bill Gates Isn't Giving Money to Everyone Who Shares This Photo

Tuesday April 1, 2014

Circulating via Facebook

Above: Photo of Bill Gates holding a sign reading, "As some of you may know, I'm Bill Gates. If you click that share link, I will give you $5,000. I always deliver, I mean, I brought you Windows XP, right?"

Sorry to break it to the tens of thousands of folks who've already spammed it all over Facebook, but this is a Photoshop prank, and a fairly obvious one at that.

In the original, undoctored image, taken in February 2013 during an AMA session on Reddit.com, the sign simply said, "Hi Reddit, This is Bill Gates."

Cf. Bill Gates Is Sharing His Fortune! circa 1999.

Adam Levine Dead? No, It's a Facebook Scam. Beware!

Thursday March 27, 2014

Circulating today via social media:

HOAX: Adam Levine of Maroon 5 was reported Dead on Arrival after being rescued from a Drug Overdose pay at his own house.

Don't buy it. You'll find no reports of Maroon 5 frontman Adam Levine dying of a drug overdose on legitimate news sites, because it simply isn't true. Adam Levine is alive and well. If blurbs for a "breaking news" video about his supposed death appear in your news feed, don't like, share, or click on them — just hit delete. They're part of a clickjacking scam that redirects you to a page outside Facebook which may compromise the security of your account and/or computer. The video doesn't exist. Read More...

No, an April 4th Planetary Alignment Will Not Decrease Gravity on Earth. You've Been Pranked!

Wednesday March 26, 2014

We've seen this hoax before:

April 4th 2014 - Planetary Alignment Decreases Gravity - Float For 5 minutes! #ZeroGDay

Rewind to January 4, 2014, when precisely the same phenomenon — a rare planetary alignment which would allegedly counteract gravity so everyone on earth would feel weightless for five minutes — was supposed to occur, but didn't. The same website that purveyed this nonsense then, News-Hound, is purveying it again, only this time the miraculous "Zero-G Day" alignment is supposed to occur on April 4.

Not only is it a prank, it's an unoriginal prank dating from 1976. And it isn't even April Fools' Day yet. Internet, we can do better!

Pro tools:
April Fools' Day 101
Don't Be Fooled! A Guide to Fake News Websites

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