Antiviral: Here's What Was Bullshit on the Internet on April Fools

How many of these irritating pranks ended up shared to your Facebook feed? Antiviral is here to remind you that there's bullshit everywhere all the time.

So a couple of companies tried to get your attention with sleek ads for made-up products like edible pizza boxes, kitten hiking boots, and storage in outer space.

LinkedIn thinks it can win us over by joke-inventing a "cats you may know" feature. (Maybe if it actually worked, guys.)

And seriously, ThinkGeek, Back to the Future hoaxes are so 1985.

This is the internet. Every day is April Fools.


No, *NSYNC and the Spice Girls are not headlining a 1990s nostalgia mega-concert

You think you're sooooo funny, Refinery 29.

Antiviral: Here's What Was Bullshit on the Internet on April Fools

(Click the "Tickets are available here" link from this post to continue not laughing.)


No, there isn't a Volkswagen-sized catfish stuck in an Alabama dam

I will never understand why a real newspaper would choose to run a fake story on purpose. But this Alabama paper actually published a made-up article about a giant catfish. Here's a screenshot of the illustration that went with the story:

Antiviral: Here's What Was Bullshit on the Internet on April Fools

The species of fish is the loof lirpa, is it? And it has "a reputation for creating havoc every year on this date," does it?

Good job putting that fake news above the fold instead of a legit story about abortion rights. I'm embarrassed for you, Times Daily.


No, British scientists didn't clone a dinosaur

News-hound is a bullshit site that prints a bunch of bullshit, including a pretty widely-shared yet obviously made-up article about scientists in England cloning an actual dinosaur.

Antiviral: Here's What Was Bullshit on the Internet on April Fools

Even if you wanted to believe the premise, just googling a couple of the names referenced in the piece calls it into question. Gemma Sheridan, cited in the piece as a chemistry professor, was the name News-Hound used in a fake story about a woman rescued from a desert island after someone spotted her giant SOS sign on Google Earth. And the president of PETA is Ingrid Newkirk, not Craig Farmer.

Plus, that rat-like photo of the "cloned dino" is actually a pretty terrifying looking newborn baby kangaroo or wallaby. (Props to PolicyMic for tracking down the photo.)


No, Francis Underwood is not becoming a faculty member at Northeastern

Because he's a fictional character. But that didn't stop Northeastern University from including the news in a joke edition of its news@Northwestern daily news email. Zzzzz.


No, One Direction's Zayn Malik isn't dead

And One Direction fans are not amused. THEY'RE SERIOUS.


No, the Empire State Building didn't light up in response to church founder's death

After the founder of the hate-mongering Westboro Baptist Church died March 20, this Reddit post suggested the Empire State building went rainbow-colored in response.

But the Empire State Building's website keeps an online schedule of its ever-changing lighting scheme. March 20 was listed as "ad campaign filming," and the Twitter account @ESB_lights explains that it went technicolor for "filming purposes."

If you look up on April 2, it's set to be all blue for World Autism Awareness Day, then all-white lights from April 3 until at least April 17.


No, this is not a real ad for Malaysia Airlines

Everybody deals with grief and uncertainty in different ways. Apparently mega-assholes cope by drafting fake advertisements and publishing them online. So, no, this is not a legit ad:

Antiviral: Here's What Was Bullshit on the Internet on April Fools

That's actually an Airbus A380 Super Jumbo aircraft.

I know this because the image comes from a 2012 ad campaign. The same airplane was pictured on certificates that passengers received for flying on the inaugural A380 flight.

Check out this Malaysia Airlines tweet from 2012:


No, the government won't save $467M if it switches typefaces

A teenager from Pittsburgh made headlines by claiming that the federal government could save nearly half a billion dollars if it opted to print government documents exclusively in Garamond instead of Times New Roman and some of the other typefaces that are commonly used.

And you really have to love this kid for the ink-usage analysis he did. But it looks like he didn't go far enough.

As typography expert Thomas Phinney explains on his blog, the issue has to do with some of the nominal nuances in font size comparison. Garamond lowercase is something like 15 percent smaller than the average of the other fonts in the comparison, while its caps are only about 7.5 percent smaller, he said.

Phinney: "This is why most scientific studies comparing typefaces first compensate by resizing the fonts to eliminate differences in the lowercase height (called x-height by us font geeks). This study failed to do that. As a result, they actually get results that are the exact opposite of other studies."

In other words, "you could just as easily save ink by setting the same font at a smaller point size." (And smaller font size might not be the best solution for making the business of government accessible to the masses.)

Besides, Phinney explains, many large offices are able to operate printers under a maintenance agreement so they pay by the page — not by the amount of ink or toner used — another point that chips away at the original idea.

On top of that, Garamond doesn't have a "bold italic" option, which makes it not ideal for a widely used government typeface that would need diverse applications. Wah wahhh.


No, Goodreads is not about to publish a just-discovered Jane Austen novel

Yeah, yeah, and it's called "Mirth and Mischief."

We get it, you monster.


No, Bill Murray didn't stop a bank robbery in Japan

I get it. I really do. We all love Bill Murray so much that we're willing to believe every last crazy story about him. I lost count of the number of Facebook friends who shared that bullshit Thought Catalog article about what it was like to party with him for a night.

But Bill Murray did not accidentally stop a bank robbery in Japan. The site that claims he did, National Report, is yet another site devoted to making up fake news. (No, George Zimmerman isn't writing children's books, etc., etc.)

So here is a true story: I really did see Bill Murray, the actual human man who played Phil Connors in Groundhog Day and Herman Blume in Rushmore, with my own eyeballs.

It was November 2013 in Honolulu. He walked into Bogart's Cafe and then straight behind the counter like he owned the place. An employee said he'd never been there before and was looking for a trashcan so he could throw something away. Apparently he complained a lot about the place being cash-only.

He was wearing brown board shorts that said "Da Hui" on the butt. He did not smile once. He did not stop any robberies. Nothing remarkable happened. And I'm pretty sure that no celebrity sighting could ever top it.