Antiviral: Here's What's Bullshit on the Internet This Week

Spring is in the air! But hybrid parrot-pigeons like those featured on Gothamist this week are not. Neither are these horrible bikinis, or a machine that turns water into wine. What is in the air—and on the internet—is bullshit.

No, this is not normal

Target is really sorry for being so bad at Photoshop. Creating a thigh gap so severe that it cropped out part of a swimsuit model's crotch was an "unfortunate error," the company said. (That's PR speak for "sorry not sorry.") Next time they should try to get the wizard who touched up this model:

Or, if they're on a budget, Target should just drape a bikini bottom over some hot dogs to get the look they're after.


No, this is not a half-parrot half-pigeon

Gothamist revealed a mysterious bird-spotting this week, featuring photos of a couple of "peculiar looking pigeons." Or were they parrots?

I've seen a lot of New York City pigeons in my day—including this horror in Washington Square Park—but never have I encountered such a specimen. Suspecting Photoshop, I reached out to pigeon expert Andrew Blechman, who's managing editor of Orion Magazine. Here's what he told me:

"It's likely very much real, except the bird is painted (although not very artfully, or much of the paint has worn off; it's likely a pigeon escapee). There's a popular Spanish sport... where they dye the birds to keep track of them."

Blechman also directed me to the photography of Ricardo Cases, who has captured some of these painted birds at their most colorful. Okay, that seems like a strong hypothesis.

Besides, it isn't even possible for pigeons and parrots to produce a mashup bird baby. That's according to Irene Pepperberg, a parrot expert at Harvard. "Parrots and pigeons can't interbreed," she told me in an email. "They are too far apart."

As for the mystery bird, Pepperberg suspects "it might be a regular pigeon that someone painted, or it might be a hybrid with a species rarer than the common rock dove (formal name for pigeon)."


No, this app is not only accessible to drunk people

Gizmodo wasted no time getting to the bottom of this ice-cold pint of bullshit. A social app called LIVR promised it would only work for drunk people — by breathalyzing you before you can connect to it. That's right, LIVR. I know.

But the video was pretty slick.

Quite a few writers got duped and reported the app as legit.

Also obviously fake is this water-to-wine machine:

"Just like the Bible's famed miracle, it literally turns water into wine," a Miracle Machine spokesman promises. That video turns out to be a marketing stunt to draw attention to the water charity Wine to Water, NPR reports.


No, Will Smith isn't dead

This wannabe TMZ Twitter account racked up thousands of followers and plenty of retweets for a fake news alert that actor Will Smith had died.

The account is a self-described parody. As of this writing, Smith is alive. He's also a frequent target of celebrity death hoaxes. Previously, the internet has killed him with botched surgery and freak accidents.


Elsewhere on the interwebs, this rando obviously did not give away a bunch of money to people in exchange for retweets. That video of awkward yet attractive people making out is a clothing ad. And Uber Facts aren't all really facts, you guys, we've been over this. (Same goes for Snapple Real Facts.)

Plus, people are pissed at Republicans for tricking people into giving money to a fake Democratic candidate. And rat bastard Jimmy Kimmel is going to keep lying to all of us.


Antiviral is an occasional column in which we run down the worst hoaxes, pranks, Photoshops and straight-out lies blowing up on the internet.