Online Hoaxes

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From horse-sized dogs to a revival of the TV show 'Friends' to Bill Gates giving away free cash, hoaxes have long been part of the fabric of the online world. Improving software and the advent of social media, however, have made them more convincing and able to spread more rapidly. Our (genuine!) explainer video brings you the facts in less than five minutes.

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What are online hoaxes?

Online hoaxes are fictional stories circulated online, frequently intended to shape people’s beliefs or opinions. They have been around as long as the internet itself. Older, basic and transparent hoaxes have been replaced with something far more believable. Nowadays, anyone can put together a believable looking photo, video or website in hours and minutes, rather than days and weeks. Combined with the speed at which social media operates, this allows online hoaxes to flourish in the digital age.

For more information on the associated risks and online safety tips for parents and carers, watch our explainer video, available to those with a National Online Safety membership.