Hoaxes have been around long before modern day social media. Individuals used to send scam or chain emails to one another that promoted taking some action that would save them from a seemingly existent threat. Even text message hoaxes existed before smartphones, but they were often more easily identifiable, as they would threaten a monster under one’s bed or immediate misfortune if they were not sent to friends.
Hoaxes may exist for a number of reasons, like a hoaxer trying to gain notoriety or wanting to see how successful they can be in deceiving people. Although we do not know for certain the reason behind each hoax, it’s hard not to wonder whether these days some hoaxers exist to actually call attention to the power and negative impact of ”fake news” and influencers.
In this past Instagram hoax, prominent celebrities even fell for and posted a fake post claiming that Instagram would own and publicly be able to distribute their photos if they did not repost the viral picture reciting these claims, as Wired reports on here. Perhaps this hoax was intended to call attention to the fact that we don’t truly know the legitimacy of the products or ideas that the influencers we follow are promoting. I mean, are we really supposed to believe that Bootea is what keeps Scott in shape?
— Scott Disick (@ScottDisick) January 19, 2015
Or that Kendall’s clear skin is all thanks to Proactiv?
— Kendall (@KendallJenner) May 29, 2019
After all, celebrities reposted the hoax photo and promoted the ideas being shared within it similar to the way they promote certain products. In this case, the hoax may have actually, at the end of the day, promoted media literacy, by calling attention to the amount of false information shared online and the many, seemingly credible sources it can come from.