Fake Website Tricks Thousands Into Believing Elizabeth Warren Endorsed Bernie Sanders

J.K. Trotter · 03/01/16 11:10AM

Yesterday, thousands of Bernie Sanders’ supporters began sharing what appeared to be a straightforward New York Times article—which you can read here—about Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren’s decision to endorse Sanders for President of the United States. Attributed to Jonathan Martin and Alexander Burns, both of whom are real Times reporters, the piece was written in convincing Times-ese, down to the headline (“Warren Endorses Sanders, Breaking With Colleagues”), lead sentence (“In a potentially decisive turn...”), and perfunctory quotes from the Sanders campaign and several disappointed Clinton surrogates. There were two major problems with the article, though: It wasn’t a real Times report, and Warren has not in fact endorsed Sanders.

It's April Fool's Day: Trust No One

Max Read · 04/01/13 07:30AM

Today is April Fool's Day, a magical 24-hour spell during which companies spend lots of money to make stupid changes to their websites as a joke instead of as a business decision. In the spirit of public service we'd like to remind you: Don't trust anything you hear today. "Google Nose BETA," the search engine for scents? No. YouTube shutting down in preparation for finding the best video of all time? No. Twitter charging for vowels? No. Google Maps' new "treasure map" setting? Not real, and also not really even a joke. As usual, tech companies are the worst offenders in the publicity-in-exchange-for-saying-things-that-aren't-true game, but marketers have been gearing up for this for weeks, too. And TV: Good Morning America had a segment on a gorilla language this morning, and the Today Show had a Chris Brown "Breezy Flash Mob" complete with an interview. (Oh, no, wait: Today actually interviewed a violent and unrepentant abuser and hosted his insane fans outside its studio.) The prize for politics-related April Fool's is a tie between Sen. Ted Cruz who made a horrifically ugly April Fool's image macro for his Twitter, and the Yale Daily News, which straight-facedly announces that Hillary Clinton is joining the Jackson Institute for Global Affairs. (Ah: that famous New Haven sense of humor.) I don't have a clear memory of anything that happened before, say, 2005, so I have to ask: Was April Fool's Day always this excruciating? Or is this all—the endless stream of bad non-jokes, the news coverage of the bad non-jokes, and the grumpy bloggers whining about the above—the internet's fault? April Fool's! I already know the answer: Human beings have always been embarrassing and unfunny, well before the internet. [Lifehacker | NYT | USAT]

Sorry, Taylor Lautner Did Not Come Out on the Cover of People

Brian Moylan · 12/27/11 11:10AM

Everyone has been passing around a fake cover of People magazine that has Twilight hunklet Taylor Lautner on the cover saying he's "Out and Proud." I hate to break it to you, but the fake cover that looks like a fake (a good fake, but a fake) is fake. Taylor Lautner is not "out and proud." I'm not going to say he's not gay (he isn't) but this cover is faker than JWOWW's boobs reading a James Frey book. Even Gossip Cop says so. Oh, Gossip Cop weighed in. Case closed!

Even Babies Can Tell You're Full of Shit

Max Read · 12/12/11 06:02PM

You know how you spend every minute of your waking life desperately afraid that you will be found out as a laughable fraud and all your accomplishments discovered to be built on a foundation of luck and lies? Well! As it turns out, even babies can tell how unbelievably full of shit you are.

Update: Only 92% of Newt Gingrich's Twitter Followers Are Fake

John Cook · 08/02/11 01:40PM

Yesterday, we published an item based on a former Newt Gingrich staffer's claim that Gingrich assembled his 1.3 million Twitter followers—a number that he's taken to bragging about—in part by buying fake Twitter followers. A lot of people did not think that was true! But today social networking search firm PeekYou announced that it had crunched the data and come to the conclusion that roughly 106,055 of Gingrich's million-plus followers are real people. The rest are fakes.

School Does Really Lame Job of Pretending Lady Gaga Came to Visit

Seth Abramovitch · 06/02/11 08:21PM

A school employee from New Jersey promised students that Lady Gaga would give the kids a talk about bullying via the internet. So she did what any reasonable person with absolutely no access to Lady Gaga would do after making a promise she could not keep: She hired a Lady Gaga impersonator!

Fake National Soccer Team Plays Real International Match

Max Read · 09/15/10 12:21AM

On September 7, the African nation of Togo and the Middle Eastern kingdom of Bahrain played a friendly international soccer match. The only problem: Togo says it never sent its team to play the game.

The Fake Decade

Ravi Somaiya · 12/23/09 12:55PM

The years from 2000 to 2009 were unified by fakeness — high-profile charlatans penetrated virtually every area of life (as Frank Rich also pointed out). From fake celebrities to fake journalists, here's a top ten of our favourite* frauds.

Crazy Peruvian Fat Killers Were Fake

Adrian Chen · 12/01/09 11:13PM

Remember that twisted story of the Peruvian gang which supposedly killed obese people and sold their fat for use in cosmetics? It was made up by an investigator. Thank God. [BBC]