Professional-grade bullshit is no longer confined to a single day.
In 2016, it didn’t take until April 1 for news organizations to be humiliated by a prank that took on a life of its own. It only took a few hours.
Shortly before midnight on New Year’s Eve, the official Twitter account for the Times Square Ball™—which should be a prank in itself—tweeted the hashtag “#BallLivesMatter.” This had the desired effect of pissing off every person on either side of the political divide so in love with being angry they refused to leave their homes on the one night of the year vomiting in public is encouraged.
This was followed by some digital newsrooms quickly deciding that their writers would once again continue the American tradition of “Auld Lang Syne,” which translates to “we’re just gonna publish this thing before we check if it’s true.”
“At 10:43 p.m., the ball tweeted a bizarre message about the economy and the ball being racist, according to the New York Daily News, which has also since been deleted,” The Daily Mail posted.
“‘The ball this year has become Racist due to the dismal state of our economy in 2015,’ the account tweeted.”
Yes, The Daily Mail and the New York Daily News believed someone who worked for the Times Square Ball’s Official and Important Twitter Account™ posted that the ball itself had become racist. A self-proclaimed racist Times Square Ball.
But that didn’t really happen. A user on Twitter named Dril who has never tweeted a serious thing in the account’s existence wrote that.
Still, the Daily News, Daily Mail, Time, Refinery 29, and others all attributed it to the now-disgraced probably-22-year-old who had the world’s single-most pivotal position: emulating the voice of a disco ball.
None of them have corrected their stories because, until now, it’s likely none of them know it’s wrong.
We only made it a few hours without bullshit this year. So how are we ever to spot it on a day dedicated to it?
Below, you’ll read about a few events. Some of these stories are real events that took place on an April 1. The others a large-scale prank that happened on the same day.
Including, maybe, that last story. You figure it out.
In the sea of Internet bullshit, can you figure out what’s real?
1. On April 1, 2015, the world’s largest Internet retailer released a new product: a button you could press that would eventually allow you to order a bunch of Slim Jims, probably from the toilet. The button did nothing else but order the jerky sticks and would still cost you $5. Said Slim Jims would then be delivered to your stupid door, no questions asked, without you ever having to leave said toilet.
The New Yorker, in a review begrudgingly endorsing the product, called the company’s advertisement for it “propaganda.” Time called it “the future of shopping and it’s awesome,” despite it being a toilet Slim Jim button.
A year later, the same company unveiled a toilet condom button, the real future of shopping.
2. Left without the use of their hands from covering their ears and screaming “LA LA LA LA” very loudly while World War II happened all around them, the entire country of Sweden at last discovered in 1962 that black-and-white TVs could be converted into newfangled color TVs by using a special kind of nylon. Sweden’s only channel taught its residents how to make the conversion on live TV the night of April 1.
3. In 2007, Google launched the now-shuttered Gmail Paper—a service that allows you to have every one of your emails printed out and shipped to you by request.
The critically acclaimed subscription service received much love for allowing users cheap, hardcopy access to their archives without having to build their own home email servers and then filling them with so many classified documents that the FBI legally had to print them out as part of an investigation. Benghazi!!!
4. In 2014, a New Jersey theme park reopened after closing in 1996 because too many people died at it.
5. IKEA, the furniture store that also sells meatballs, unveiled a high chair for dogs, complete with a hole in the back for tails and—look, I’m just going to ruin this right now and tell you this one is a prank from 2011 but really should not be one.
6. On April 1, 2014, a foreboding Donald Trump retweeted a user who could see the future.
“You would make a great President,” the user wrote. “If anyone can get us out of debt, it’s you sir. Everything you touch turns to gold.” Trump then appended the word “Thanks.”
Six hours later, Trump tweeted the following: “Today in history WrestleMania 23: I shave @VinceMcMahon’s hair—highest rated show in WWE history.” Trump appended a picture of himself, alongside Stone Cold Steve Austin, shearing Vince McMahon’s hair as the WWE CEO pretended to cry.
A year before, on the same day, Trump tweeted a story that linked vaccines to autism. Four hours before that, he tweeted about shaving Vince McMahon’s head again.
6a. Donald Trump’s campaign in general.
1. A real product. It’s called Amazon Dash, and the company announced on Thursday you can now buy Slim Jims with one button and Trojan condoms with another.
2. A prank. Sweden was duped by its only TV station’s “tech expert” who told them they could drape a stocking over their screens and turn it into color. Never happened.
3. A prank. Gmail Paper isn’t real, but #Benghazi is, in fact, a large-scale false flag to cover for the omnipresent Bilderberg Group.
4. A real event. The theme park was called Action Park and had a water slide that sent riders on a 360-degree loop most of them did not have enough momentum to complete. That was one of the least dangerous ones.
5. I mean, they made a dog sit in a high chair. But still a prank. Here’s a video.
6. A real event, somehow.