Every week, BuzzFeed’s Internet Explorer podcast explores the wonderful craziness that is the internet. Here are just a few of the weirdest stories the show has discussed.
1. The tale of the guy behind a viral Vine and his ultimate downfall.
A guy named Bryan Silva became famous on Vine for his so-bad-they’re-almost-good rapping videos, which he ended by imitating the sound of a gun. That noise — “gratata” — ended up going viral. At the beginning of this year, he once again went viral — for live-streaming himself during a standoff with police after his girlfriend reported him for threatening her. Eventually, he was arrested and brought to jail. So no, there won’t be any more “gratata” for now.
2. The story behind the internet’s favorite Halloween GIF.
If you’ve been on the internet in the month of October, chances are you’ve seen GIFs of a man in a pumpkin mask and black leotard dancing his heart out. But you probably don’t know the story behind it. That man is Matt Geiler, the former lead news anchor at a local news station in Omaha, NE. When the station had extra air time, they needed to find a way to fill it. And uh…Geiler just decided to go for it. The rest is internet legend.
3. The internet’s strangest catfishes.
From the famous (Kylie Jenner!) to the not-so-famous (a random Russian woman…?), there are plenty of catfishes out there in the world. According to the internet, that is. Because of the changes in her look, the internet is convinced that there are two Kylie Jenners. There’s the real Kylie, then the “catfish” version who is trotted out for photos and public events.
Another catfish, Lucia Cole, seemed poised for musical stardom, with a popular social media presence, interviews with press, and rumors that she had collaborated with people like Drake and Ariana Grande. There was just one little hiccup: Cole didn’t exist. To make the whole story even more complex, the person behind Lucia Cole was running the same scam with numerous other “singers,” stealing and reuploading old music and using photos of various models on social media.
And finally, we have Uma Kompton, a woman with popular social media accounts that advertise her original music. Of course, this being the internet, Uma Kompton does not exist. The pictures showing “Uma” were actually stolen from woman in Russia who had originally posted them to VK, a Russian social media site.After BuzzFeed reported on the fraudulent accounts, her Twitter was suspended. Her Instagram account remains active, however.
4. The coffee commercial that sparked talk of incest.
In 2009, Folgers Coffee released an ad that should have, by all accounts, quickly disappeared from the public consciousness. But some people looked at the ad and noticed what they claimed were sexual undertones. The problem? The commercial is about two siblings. The internet took hold of this supposed incest storyline and ran with it as only the internet could. It’s sparked erotic fan fiction, fan art, and more discussion than any coffee ad should have.
5. Men who pay to have their bank accounts hacked.
Most people try to avoid getting hacked, but for some men, it’s the goal. Welcome to the world of “findoms,” or financial domination. Essentially, men give over their information to women and allow them to take money from their accounts, purchase products for themselves online, etc. as a form of submission that they find pleasurable. And it’s not simply a few people who do this: There are entire online communities who congregate using hashtags like #findom and #paypig.
6. The Drake death hoax.
Drake is not dead. That’s an objective fact. But for a day on the internet, lots of people were convinced otherwise. This past November, the comments section of Drake’s “Hotline Bling” video on YouTube was flooded with people mourning his passing in a car accident. It’s unclear where the hoax actually began, but it picked up steam on 4chan, an internet message board. The whole thing blew up even more when someone made a post in BuzzFeed’s community section, where anyone can write posts that are edited and moderated by a team of editors. This post hadn’t been seen by any editors yet, and so was not visible to anyone without the direct link. A lot of people did have the link, however. Hundreds of thousands, in fact, ended up seeing the post. In conjunction with the YouTube comment campaign, the hoax left a lot of people thinking Drake had passed away until his reps were able to deny the rumors.
7. The drug trend that didn’t really exist.
In 2007, an internet prankster decided to tweak a real story about drug abuse — in which children in Zambia huffed the gas of fermented sewage to get high — and ended up tricking various police offices and news organizations around the country. This person posted about a drug called “jenkem” made of human waste, and his fake tale was quickly spread by 4chan. Despite the “jenkem” trend not actually existing in the United States, people began reporting about it as if it did. Perhaps the highest profile organization to fall for the hoax was The Washington Post, although they have naturally deleted their article about it since the hoax was revealed.
8. The saga of Hedo Rick.
Hedo Rick is the nickname given to a man who went viral in 2010 with a video showcasing his, let’s say enthusiasm, for the debauchery of an adults-only resort in Jamaica. He dances provocatively with spouting catchphrases like “the rippin’ and the tearin.’” But despite his viral fame, few people knew who he actually was until a few years after the video was released. At the time, he was working in maintenance for an Arizona school district.
9. The girls who buttchugged cough syrup.
Buttchugging is an inadvisable activity in which a person pours liquid…um…into their butt, usually as a way to get drunk more quickly. But seriously, don’t do it. Anyway, these two girls went viral on Twitter after pictures of them buttchugging cough syrup were published. There’s a whole story behind it, but be warned that it’s kind of gross and, again, completely inadvisable. Please, don’t do this.
10. The Avril Lavigne conspiracy theory.
What’s that? Another celebrity death hoax? Yep. This time around, it was Canadian pop singer and sk8er grrl Avril Lavigne who fell prey to rumors. After BuzzFeed’s Ryan Broderick discovered an old Brazilian blog that (jokingly) purported that Avril Lavigne had passed away and been replaced by an actress so as to conceal the truth, he tweeted about it. And what was once a joke among Brazil’s internet elite started to spread rapidly. The conspiracy theory was picked up by other outlets, who reported on it without realizing the origin of the rumor. The most ironic part? The blog where this “conspiracy” began had a disclaimer in its very first sentence.