29 Hoaxes We Debunked In 2018

This was the year of Monster ham, the Gorilla Channel, and a whole lot of anti-immigrant hoaxes.

Breaking News Hoaxes

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1. A Belgian political party circulated a bad deepfake of Donald Trump.

Trump heeft een boodschap voor alle Belgen... #Klimaatpetitie

The party published the video to Twitter and Facebook, where it was viewed over 90,000 times on the latter. In the video, which is in English but has Dutch subtitles, the fake Trump says, “As you know, I had the balls to withdraw from the Paris climate agreement, and so should you.” Here’s how to spot a deepfake in the wild.

2. A doctored video of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez was spread on Facebook by conservative news outlet CRTV.

Facebook: video.php

Even though many realized the video was fake, it spread across social media and got over 4 million views on Facebook.

3. People used old photos to make false, racist claims of assault at Black Panther screenings.

4. President Trump falsely tweeted that Google didn’t promote his State of the Union address.

In a statement, Google said it did promote a live video stream of Trump’s address in 2018. The year before, in 2017, a video wasn’t promoted on the homepage because Trump delivered a joint statement to Congress, not a State of the Union. An Internet Archive capture of the Google homepage confirmed the company’s statement.

5. A false claim about the Brett Kavanaugh hearings spread on Twitter.

6. A writer for a far-right website known for spreading falsehoods tried to claim pipe bombs sent to liberals were the result of a conspiracy to frame conservatives. In reality, the man who sent the bombs was a Trump supporter.

7. Another conspiracy spread by right-wing websites and pundits about the man who sent the pipe bombs falsely claimed he was a registered Democrat.

8. Trolls targeted Miami Herald reporter Alex Harris with doctored tweets during the Parkland school shooting.

9. After the Parkland shooting, far-right websites spread false conspiracies targeting the surviving students, comparing them to Nazis.

10. Far-right trolls tried to falsely claim that LGBT activists want pedophilia accepted as a sexuality.

11. Donald Trump tweeted a viral video of the migrant caravan with a false context.

Can you believe this, and what Democrats are allowing to be done to our Country?

The video shows people in the caravan receiving something that could be money, tickets, papers, or anything else. It was first brought into the mainstream by conspiracy theorists who baselessly claimed that the “UN and Soros are behind migrant caravan invasion” and used remarks Trump made at a rally to bolster the unfounded claims. However, there is no evidence that people in the migrant caravan were paid by George Soros or Democrats to participate in it.

12. This image of a child in a cage is from a protest, not a detention center.

13. This image of a mom and her kids fleeing tear gas was used as fuel for false online conspiracies.

14. This photo doesn’t show the Mexican police being “brutalized” by the caravan.

Facebook: ExploitingTheNiche

The main picture being shared was actually taken during clashes with students back in 2012. The photographer who took the photo of a bloodied officer later described what was really going on in the images.

15. Likewise, this is not a photo of a person in the migrant caravan with an illness.

16. Nigel Farage shared a fake anti-refugee image on Twitter to his 1.2 million followers.

17. Trump retweeted a false claim that said people were chanting “We want Trump” during the Yellow Vests protests in Paris.

Zombie Hoaxes

A hoax that keeps going viral repeatedly despite being debunked is called a zombie hoax. Here are some we debunked this year.

18. A video report of people in Gaza burning Snickers bars was repurposed to make a false claim that the chocolate causes cancer.

19. Morgan Freeman didn’t say “Jail Hillary,” but that false claim keeps going viral.

20. Hoaxes about Muslims wanting to ban dogs in public keep going viral.

Facebook: theblacksphere.net

This hoax started in 2016 with a flyer of questionable origin and continues to live online, getting thousands of engagements each time.

21. Recurring claims of voter fraud came in all forms.

Trying to STEAL two big elections in Florida! We are watching closely!

Falsehoods form the midterms included the claim that US voting machines were owned by Hungarian billionaire George Soros, that “illegals” were paid to vote for Beto O’Rourke, and that busses of undocumented migrants were brought in to cast ballots. Similar hoaxes were spread during the 2016 presidential elections. President Trump also tweeted claims that echoed those false online conspiracies.

22. During every shooting, trolls spread false images of suspects and victims. Images of Sam Hyde, a far-right YouTuber, made an appearance during many attacks this year, including the Parkland, YouTube, and Jacksonville shootings.

23. A fake photo of a shark in the street inevitably gets posted during every hurricane.

Believe it or not, this is a shark on the freeway in Houston, Texas. #HurricaneHarvy

This has been happening for over seven years. The photoshopped image previously made appearances during hurricanes Irene and Matthew, Superstorm Sandy, and other storms.

Jokes Not Everyone Got

24. The Friends movie trailer is fake.

View this video on YouTube

youtube.com

People fell for it anyway because of the nostalgia.

25. People on Twitter lost their minds over the Trump Gorilla Channel parody.

Wow, this extract from Wolff’s book is a shocking insight into Trump’s mind:

This tweet came on the heels of a book called Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House being released. There are some pretty explosive allegations in it, so the joke tweet hit close to home for some.

26. A joke about Jamaica making Korean pop music illegal went over a lot of people’s heads.

A spokesperson for Jamaica’s prime minister ultimately stepped in. Robert Nesta Morgan, director of communications for Prime Minister Andrew Holness, replied to the viral tweet and said “This is NOT TRUE!!!!!”

27. There is no Monster ham.

“White people dont have culture” OK THEN EXPLAIN THIS

The image was photoshopped but the jokes were real good.

28. No, a man wasn’t arrested for confusing Ikea shoppers with fake arrows.

29. A barefoot runner who demanded his neighbors clean up acorns from the sidewalk was just trolling, but people fell for it.

This post in my neighborhood FB group is getting absolutely destroyed

Eric Curtis is not a competitive barefoot runner. The post was him trolling his neighbors. But no one bothered to check his claims. “I can’t believe BuzzFeed was the one who actually fact checked,” he told BuzzFeed News.

Believe it.