With the internet being largely unregulated and anybody able to add to it, it means that a lot of what appears on it should not necessarily be taken as the truth.
We see this regularly on social media sites like Facebook, where a lot of the memes and ‘news’ items that crop up should leave us asking questions rather than instantly clicking the ‘Share’ button. Indeed, Facebook has found itself accused of helping to spread false news, possibly even to the extent where it has influenced the outcome of events like the U.S. presidential election – a claim its CEO Mark Zuckerberg denies.
Some of the untruths on the internet might be there for malicious reasons, or to try and push an agenda, but probably most of them are the result of people just having a giggle. Perhaps any sort of fibs or inaccuracies on the web should get us frustrated, but now and again, if they’re so barmy as to be obvious jokes, we can’t help but have a little snigger at some of the nonsense put out there by the online community.
Here are just three extremely silly examples of online ‘vandalism’ that might leave you stifling your mirth:
1. Trump Tower given mildly rude name
I wonder if any individual has ever caused as much online activity in a year as President-elect of the U.S. Donald Trump has in 2016? The polarising billionaire is a prolific tweeter, and it won’t surprise you to learn he’s the most Googled person of the year.
Not everyone likes him though, and what with his unusual hair and often far-fetched political ideas, he tends to set himself up to be lampooned. Just last weekend, some Google Maps-using comedian made it clear what he thought of Trump’s empire by renaming Trump Tower, a building under construction in Vancouver, Canada, as ‘Dump Tower’.
The play on words was quickly removed, but the act suggests that Trump’s reputation in America’s closest neighbour is something he would be wise not to pooh-pooh.
2. Gary Oldman found to be a giraffe at birth
Both the strength and weakness of online reference site Wikipedia is that anyone can edit it. This makes terrific use of the collective pool of knowledge possessed by all its users, but it also leaves the site open to an enormous amount of misuse.
Some Wikipedia pages (like Donald Trump’s) are such a target for vandals that only trusted ‘Wikipedians’ are allowed to edit them, but imaginative pranksters can manage to find frivolity in just about any Wikipedia entry. According to this Telegraph article, everybody from rock star Liam Gallagher to ancient Greek philosopher Plato has been the victim of Wikipedia mischief.
The Huffington Post managed to capture a screenshot of one of the most bizarre Wikipedia edits, when somebody slipped the following revelation into the ‘Early life’ section of famous actor Gary Oldman’s page:
The doctor claimed at first that Gary was a girl, then looked closer and then declared Gary a giraffe.”
At under six feet tall, Oldman would certainly look like the runt of the litter if he were to mingle with his reported follow species, though.
3. Mr. Bean becomes Spanish prime minister
We shouldn’t ever approve of hacking, but if it has to be done, it should at least be kept light-hearted and amusing.
In 2010, somebody managed to gain access to Spain’s European Union presidency website and change a picture of Spanish PM Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero into one of comedy character Mr. Bean.
A reference to Rowan Atkinson’s fictional fool seems a good point to wrap up this article on internet inanity, and acts as a reminder that just because it’s on the web, it doesn’t mean you should believe it.