'Birth or Not' Hoax & 5 Other Big, Fat Internet Lies

Sasha Brown-Worsham

Surprise, surprise. Peter and Alisha Arnold -- the "Birth or Not" couple who was offering their pregnancy up to the Internet gods -- were actually just a couple of liars.

Will wonders never cease?

Alisha Arnold has lost her job after the company claimed she tarnished their good name. While she maintains that she is pro-choice, her husband's activities against abortion suggest otherwise. We kind of already knew this, but it's still pretty despicable, which is the one thing on which both sides agree.

Scott Fischbach of Minnesota Citizens Concerned for Life, a group opposed to abortion, calls it a pop-culture tragedy. He urges the Arnolds to have the baby and put it up for adoption to a family that would have no question whether he should be alive and would never put that up to vote.

Linnea House of NARAL Pro-Choice Minnesota says the site is insulting to women and couples who've had to make this decision in the past .... It's a complete hoax. It's not about choice. It's about getting attention.

We all agree the Arnolds are awful, but they aren't the first to pull one over on the Internet. Here are a few other Internet hoaxes that had everyone talking (and some feeling mighty dumb):

  • Onions can charge iPhones: This video claimed that you could charge your iPod using Gatorade and an onion. This was in 2007 and enough people believed it that I am betting some felt pretty dumb when it was revealed that this was a Household Hacker-fueled joke.
  • Danish mother looking for baby daddy: In 2009, a hot Danish woman claimed via YouTube video that she met a young American man, had a one-night stand with him, and became pregnant with the boy seen in the video. The baby is about 6 months old, sucking on a bottle, and the mom is gorgeous, young, and vibrant. It was highly shareable and did really well. Except it was a lie. The "mom" was actually an actress hired to boost Danish tourism. And we thought Americans were weird.
  • Lonelygirl videos: In 2006, Lonelygirl15 surfaced. The videos appeared to be a blog from a typical teenager until she started revealing details of the cult that her family was involved in. The whole thing was a lie, but many were concerned and freaked out in the process.
  • Faster! Faster!: This past April, a group thought it would be funny to say that the Boston Athletic Association (BAA), the organization that runs the Boston Marathon, changed the qualifying times for this year's runners. They even produced a fake BAA website. After many, many freak outs, including my own, the site was revealed as a fake. The BAA has since insisted that they removed the information.
  • Bonsai Kitten: Created by MIT grad students about 10 years ago, animal right activists flipped out over the fake site, which taught people how to shape a "bonsai cat" by squishing a kitten inside a Mason jar using muscle relaxant and feeding tubes. It was a prank, but a whole lot of people were scarred by it.

What Internet hoaxes did you fall for?


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