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University of Wisconsin–Madison

2013: The year of the Internet hoax?

Sometimes you just want to believe.   And sometimes you can’t help but believe.

Maybe it’s the kid inside all of us.  Maybe it’s the skill of a person who produced reality TV and knows how to lay out a hoax that can take in those of us who are self-described cynics.

In any case, this year seemed to be one with far too many Internet hoaxes to count.  As NPR’s Arun Rath reports, this year Internet hoaxes had us clicking for more.

A lot of people and some news organizations were fooled by Internet hoaxes this year. From that twerking girl who caught on fire to the TV producer going to war with the rude lady in seat 7A to the not-very-poor blogger who so eloquently wrote about living in poverty. So many of these stories have taken hold, 2013 has been called the year of the Internet hoax.

If you’ve been taken in, take heart. Grantland writer Tess Lynch says you are not alone.

People will always be susceptible to hoaxes.  Hopefully journalists can resist the temptation to advance them and instead follow their inner skeptic and ask some questions before helping give perpetrators their 15 minutes of fame.

Read the transcript here.

Listen to the audio story here.


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