Published On: Dec 24 2013 04:13:09 AM CSTUpdated On: Dec 26 2013 06:11:18 AM CST
From the viral rise of a Thanksgiving Day airplane spat to a Twitter feud between a comedian and a salsa company, 2013 has turned out to be the year of the online hoax.
Elan Gale, a producer on ABC's "The Bachelor," captivated Twitter with his Thanksgiving Day story about a fellow passenger named "Diane," who was rude to flight attendants on his flight to Phoenix. Gale came to the rescue with a cheeky note, a glass of wine and, ultimately, some lowbrow insults. Within a day, the Web had split into two camps. Team Elan and Team Diane.
Gale declared both teams losers a couple of days later when he returned to Twitter to share a "photo of Diane" -- an empty chair.
Notre Dame All-American linebacker Manti Te'o broke hearts when he told reporters his girlfriend, a 22-year-old Stanford University student, had died of leukemia within hours of his grandmother's death.
Except, the girlfriend never existed. Te'o would later say he'd never met Lennay Kekua in person, that their relationship had formed online and that he was the victim of what he called a "sick joke."
Dayna Morales, an openly gay server at the Gallop Asian Bistro in New Jersey, told reporters that someone left her a note that said, "I'm sorry but I cannot tip because I do not agree with ... your lifestyle and how you live your life." Donations poured into Paypal account setup for Morales.
But then a television station displayed a receipt from a family showing an $18 tip on a bill of $93.55 -- the same amount on the one Morales had originally shared on the Facebook and a credit card statement with the same total value, $111.55, to back it up.
Linda Walther Tirado wrote a heartbreaking blog post on poverty that was picked up by the Huffington Post and others. Tirado had already raised more than $61,000 in donations via GoFundMe before it was discovered -- she wasn't that poor.
A Houston Press investigation revealed that Tirado owns her home, has worked as a political consultant and is married to a U.S. Marine. Tirado says she'll use the money to collect her writing into a book and maintains that her writing was misinterpreted by readers who thought she was always describing her current living conditions.
Comedian Kyle Kinane started poking fun at what looked like an automated Twitter feed for Pace Picante Sauce. What followed was a hilarious and cringe-worthy back-and-forth in which Pace employees offered Kinane free salsa to stop writing bad things about them.
The main problem being that Pace Picante Sauce doesn't have a Twitter feed, says its owner, the Campbell Soup Co. Kinane says he was pranked by other comedians who created the fake account.