5 Internet Hoaxes That Went Viral and Almost Fooled You This Year

Matthew Hughes 27-12-2013

Fool me once, shame on me. Fool me twice, shame on you. Fool me five times… Well? You get the idea. And boy, there were a few convincing hoaxes knocking about the Internet this year; from waterproof iPhones to Christmas Dinner in a tin. Here are some of the best.


Waterproof iPhones

4chan is rather well known for being behind some of the funniest (and cruelest) internet pranks. With this in mind, I don’t think anybody was particularly surprised when they convinced owners of the latest (and pricey) iPhone 5s 10 YouTube Videos Exploring The New iPhone 5s and 5c Assuming you haven't been living under a rock, located deep in a forest, surrounded by a very tall wall; you'll be aware that Apple has unveiled its latest smartphone. Read More to brick their phone.


Users of the infamous imageboard produced an infographic in the stylings of Apple, informing users that should their latest fruit machine get submerged in water, the internal electronics of the device would instantly shut off ensuring no damage comes to the phone.

Of course, this was utterly fake. That didn’t stop a great number of people buying it, resulting in a lot of expensive paperweights and angry tweets.

Christmas Tinner

I often write my articles from a rented office space in the city center of Liverpool, England. One day, I was doing my daily trawl through my RSS reader Google Reader's End Is Nigh: Prepare With These Alternative RSS Readers Google Reader is dead. By July the Internet's premier RSS service is shutting down forever, leaving users to find a replacement on their own. If you're looking for an equivalent to Google these are just... Read More only for something stomach-churning to catch my eye. Kotaku was reporting that the moribund British gaming retailer Game was flogging Christmas dinner in a tin.


Marketed at gamers who don’t want to miss a moment of the latest Battlefield game, not even for dinner with grandma; this monstrosity consists of a traditional Christmas dinner with all the trimmings arranged in layers and encased in gelatin.


There’s a Game shop located not far from my place of work, so I figured I’d brave the fierce Winter rain and cutting English breeze to grab one. I arrived both sodden and cold, only to find that the whole thing was a hoax with the Game confirming on Twitter later. In retrospect, perhaps that’s for the best.

The Pirate Bay Moves to North Korea!

North Korea is perhaps the ultimate authoritarian hellhole. For the past 60 years, it has been run by Kim Il-Sung and his boilersuit donning descendants, where they have systematically annihilated any opposition and crushed any semblance of a free press. Internet access is massively restricted, the country is shrouded in secrecy North Korea Demystified: A Selection of Online Resources to Learn About This Secretive Country The Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK), or North Korea as it is more commonly known, is regarded by many as the world's most isolated country. It is a fascinating country as we know so... Read More , and the economic mismanagement of the country has resulted in famine and the deaths of millions of people. It is not a fun place to live.



Where better for Swedish torrent site The Pirate Bay to move to? Here’s what an operator of the site speaking on their blog had to say:

“This is truly an ironic situation. We have been fighting for a free world, and our opponents are mostly huge corporations from the United States of America, a place where freedom and freedom of speech is said to be held high.”

“At the same time, companies from that country are chasing a competitor from other countries, bribing police and lawmakers, threatening political parties and physically hunting people from our crew. And to our help comes a government famous in our part of the world for locking people up for their thoughts and forbidding access to information.”

And it was all a hoax. An expertly executed one too, with trace route requests clearly indicating that the endpoint for The Pirate Bay was the Star-KP ISP in North Korea. However, it was just a ruse, with the Pirate Bay at the time being hosted in Germany.

Apple’s iBitcoin Feature

Did you know that since 2009, all Apple computers have came with built in support for mining Bitcoin? No? That’s because it’s a lie.



That didn’t stop someone producing an infographic informing users of OS X that if they ran a simple command on their computer, it would start minting the very lucrative cryptocurrency. That simple command? Sudo rm -rf /* (please don’t run this).

This command instructs the computer to wipe everything that is stored on the hard drive. Everything. Including the hard drive. You don’t get any Bitcoins, either.

Turning the Xbox One into a really, really big paperweight

Microsoft recently released the Xbox One to mixed reviews (read our Xbox review Microsoft Xbox One Review And Giveaway The console wars are officially raging, and we've had sufficient time with both of them. That begs the question: how does the Xbox One compare? Read More too). One of the biggest complaints was the dearth of games available at launch, and the seeming lack of ability to play Xbox 360 games. Soon enough, an infographic purporting to show how to unlock the Xbox One started circulating courtesy of the rapscallions of 4Chan.



As you’d expect, it was a ruse. Anyone who followed the instructions soon found out that they had placed their consoles into a reboot loop. It remains to be seen if these instructions have any effect on photos of Xbox Ones.


2013 was without a doubt the year of the hoax. Did you fall for any? Did I miss any? Let me know in the comments below.
Image Credit: Hoax (eroksim)

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  1. Will
    January 17, 2014 at 5:44 am

    How as the survior2299 not on here?!

  2. Steve
    January 12, 2014 at 3:37 pm

    No Fallout 4 scam?

  3. Chris K
    January 2, 2014 at 5:19 am

    Remember this one ?
    A local food writer was rushed to UAMS hospital last night after consuming 413 Cheddar Bay Biscuits from Red Lobster. Doctors confirm that he slipped into a coma shortly after being admitted into the emergency room.
    Red Lobster’s signature Cheddar Bay Biscuits are given out to guest free with meals in unlimited quantities. The restaurant list the biscuits as 150 calories each and a chef for the restaurant tells us they have approximately 1/8th of a stick of butter in each. UAMS doctors are speculating that it is the equivalent of 51.5 sticks of butter that Shalin ate that is causing the coma.

    Well it was no joke ..that was my brother .

    • Dylan V
      January 9, 2014 at 9:48 pm

      I remember that one, both because the number 413 has significance to me and that Kevin Shalin looks A LOT like me.

  4. Darcy
    December 28, 2013 at 7:04 pm

    You missed the hoax of the girl twerking doing a handstand on her door and someone opened the door so she fell on her table where a candle lit her on fire.

    • Matthew H
      January 27, 2014 at 11:07 am

      Ah, I remember that. The Jimmy Kimmel one?

  5. Geekycord
    December 28, 2013 at 10:06 am

    Why wasn't Half life three copyright on here? That was a big one for the gaming community.

    • Matthew H
      January 27, 2014 at 11:06 am

      I missed that one. What happened?

  6. Jo-anne P
    December 28, 2013 at 4:47 am

    I was only aware of two but very entertaining to read very nice article thanks

    • Matthew H
      December 28, 2013 at 7:26 am

      Thanks indeed!

  7. Lynda
    December 28, 2013 at 2:37 am

    You reversed the saying: It's fool me once, shame YOU. Fool me twice, shame on ME.

    • Matthew H
      December 28, 2013 at 7:25 am

      So, shame on me then?

  8. Kannon Y
    December 27, 2013 at 7:27 pm

    This is easily the best roundup of Internet hoaxes I've ever seen. Well done!

    Do I get my told-ya-so's in on the tinned turkey dinner? I really need those now. Help me.

    • Matthew H
      December 27, 2013 at 7:39 pm

      Heh, you do indeed. Well done Kannon. And thanks for the kind words.

      P.S. Any christmas cards come in the mail?

  9. Specter
    December 27, 2013 at 6:19 pm

    Samsung paying 1.2 Billion to Apple in nickels. This was a joke article originally in Spanish from a hoax news paper and was spread across social media sites in the US.

    • Matthew H
      December 27, 2013 at 7:39 pm

      Are there even that many nickels in circulation?

    • epiquestions
      December 28, 2013 at 7:28 am

      well i think that came out in 2012 if i'm not mistaken, it just gets reposted in social media

  10. Alan W
    December 27, 2013 at 5:16 pm

    To quote you:
    "Almost Had YOU Fooled This Year"
    Now from that I can only assume that you think you know me in which case you would be mistaken.

    • Matthew H
      December 27, 2013 at 7:38 pm

      I thought we were friends Alan.

    • Alan W
      December 27, 2013 at 7:51 pm

      We are Matt, just pointing out that the article header is assuming that you either know me or that I am fooled easily :)

    • Matthew H
      December 27, 2013 at 9:01 pm

      Thanks Alan. Heh, perhaps the title was just a tad bit presumptive.

      With that said, are you easily fooled? Because if so, I've got some beachfront houses for sale in Colorado. Beautiful vistas. Warm weather. That sort of thing. How about it?

    • Alan W
      December 28, 2013 at 7:39 am

      Beachfront houses, I'll take two! As the others have stated, an interesting article.
      Now, about these chocolate teapots you sold me....

  11. JustReboot
    December 27, 2013 at 4:55 pm

    I heard of the waterproof iPhone one (which I knew was fake immediately) but the others are new to me.

    • Matthew H
      December 27, 2013 at 7:40 pm

      Yeah, the waterproof iPhone one was pretty evil!

  12. Bob
    December 27, 2013 at 3:23 pm

    I thought I was in the loop but this is the first I've heard of these hoaxes.

    • Matthew H
      December 27, 2013 at 7:41 pm

      Some were bigger than others!