15 Shocking Viral Media Reports That Were Completely Fake

For every research finding that gets condensed into pop-psych nuggets and life-hacks, there are hundreds of studies that get swept under the rug because that cannot be summed up in a TED talk or as a life-hack. One such study, reported in 1976 in an academic journal, essentially found that the average person, even after being told explicitly they were lied to, will keep believing the lie... or at least that is how somebody paid by the click to report this finding would describe it. These days, pay-per-view editors rely heavily on the almighty retraction rather than fact-checking highly trafficked headlines.

Websites like The Richest are clear in their intended purpose, namely entertainment, but when serious news agencies dedicated to reporting objective information lead people astray, it is a betrayal and can be harmful, especially given that we are prone to believe whatever initial information we are given. Most examples on this list were made possible by social media's ability to spread headlines like wildfire, or viruses; real news agencies are quick to then pick up and run with viral stories, and that is where blatantly false news stories come from, kids. Enjoy these 15 headlines that got the public in a huff and got a few narcissists their 15 minutes of fame, before proving totally false.

15 State Mandated Dictator Hair


14 Al Qaeda Leaks Terrorist Training Video

13 The Sarkozy Affair

12 Man Dies After Doing A Hornets' Nest

11 Major Airlines To Fly Relief Workers To Haiti For Free

10 Nigerian Restaurant Uses People-Meat

9 Man Fends Off A Bear With Bieber


8 Chinese Citizens Miss The Sun

7 Selfie Shoes


6 Subtext And A Tip Become Bigotry


5 Rehana the ISIS Slayer


4  4. Cal Tech's Earthquake Prediction

3 'Gross' Girl Refused Service At KFC


2 Planned Parenthood Harvested Aborted Baby Parts


1 U.S. Drinking Age To Change To 25

This story first ran in 2014 in Sunday Times Daily, which, if the paradoxical name did not tip you off, is an online magazine purely designed to attract clicks, regardless of how true or truth-y anything they report is. It tops the list because it caused the most panic in the most people in North America and because it was is the least likely of all the stories described here to be a hoax. If Prohibition-era mob violence and political corruption proved anything about Westerner's, it is that you do not mess with a Westerner's access to alcohol (or firearms).

Sources: IBTimes, Independent, Snopes, VanguardNGR

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15 Shocking Viral Media Reports That Were Completely Fake