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Viral like an eagle: Top five Internet video hoaxes

With the Internet busy debating whether a YouTube video showing an eagle trying to snatch up a Montreal toddler is real, Metro decided to revisit some online video hoaxes of the past.


Arguably one of the first YouTube hoaxes ever, lonelygirl15 appeared when the video-sharing platform was still in its infancy. The series followed the life of Bree Avery, a typical angst-ridden teenager whose confessional videos covered things like her favourite stuffed animals or her first kiss. Over time, the show evolved to include a cult and the mysterious disappearance of Bree's parents. In the fall of 2006, fans of the show discovered that Bree was actually a 19-year-old actress named Jessica Rose, and the show was revealed to be fake.

eHarmony cat lady

People breaking down in tears on YouTube is hardly a new thing, but when you combine it with cats, you've got viral video gold. In the summer of 2011, a woman named Debbie tearfully confessed her love of felines in what appeared to be a dating site biography. After the video became popular, eHarmony released a statement admitting it was a hoax.

Onion iPod charger

Another early hoax, this video purportedly showed a man charging his iPod using nothing but an onion and some Gatorade. Like all good hoaxes, it contained enough pseudo-science to seem real, and it garnered a lot of press when frustrated Apple enthusiasts plugged their devices into various fruits and vegetables. However, the folks at Mythbusters eventually revealed the video to be fraudulent.

Microsoft slip and slide

As the word "viral" increasingly began to appear in front of the word "marketing," companies went to great lengths to embed their products into quirky or shocking videos. One of the more elaborate examples, courtesy of Microsoft Germany, shows a man rocketing down a giant water slide before flying off a ramp at the end and landing in a small wading pool. The video was created using a stuntman and computer animation, and was eventually revealed to be part of a marketing campaign for Microsoft Office.

Yes Men prank Shell Oil

Shell Oil was forced into damage control mode earlier this year after a video surfaced showing a disaster at a private company party held atop Seattle's Space Needle. Reportedly shot by an Occupy Wall Street protester who snuck in to the function, the video shows a replica oil rig malfunctioning and spraying liquor all over guests. The story was picked up by a number of news outlets before Shell denounced the video as a fake. Shortly after, some clever Internet detectives linked it to corporate pranksters The Yes Men.

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