There's no question that 2013 was the year of the Internet hoax. Let's take a look back at why we won't believe anything we read ever again.
Jimmy Kimmel's "Epic Twerk" Prank
When a YouTube video of a girl accidentally setting her apartment on fire went viral earlier this year, it was the perfect instance of schadenfrueude: If only those pesky millennials were more sensible with their sexually suggestive dancing, they wouldn't be punished!
Alas, the gods did not have it out for the girl in the video. No, Jimmy Kimmel staged the entire event, which he revealed on his talk show after the video had amassed several million views on YouTube.
Kyle Kinane vs. Pace Picante
Of all the pranks this year, Kyle Kinane vs. @Pace_Foods was probably the most entertaining with the fewest victims.
HuffPost Comedy was the first to notice that stand-up comedian Kinane, who counts Patton Oswalt and Louis C.K. as fans, got into a Twitter war with an account he believed belonged to Pace salsa after he tweeted some very funny criticisms of the brand. The interaction lasted hours over public messages and DMs, which Kinane posted, and seemingly resulted in an employee getting fired.
Unbeknownst to Kyle, the whole thing was a prank perpetrated by fellow comedian Randy Liedtke.
Pig Rescues Goat
Did you see the viral video of the pig who rescued a drowning goat last year? It was totally adorable, and also totally fake.
Nathan Fielder of the brilliant Comedy Central show "Nathan For You" revealed this year that he made the video with the help of animal handlers and a production crew as part of a stunt for the show. No word on whether the animals remained friends, however.
Elan Gale vs. "Diane in 7A"
This Thanksgiving, many travelers found a folk hero in Elan Gale, a producer for "The Bachelor" who fired off a series of tweets that purported to chronicle his interactions with a rude passenger on his plane. He started off by politely telling "Diane in 7A" to quiet down and sent her a drink, but lost the sympathy of many when he eventually told her to "eat [his] d***k."
The story entered another level when some Internet commenters claimed that "Diane" actually had cancer, explaining her erratic behavior and impatience.
But of course the whole thing was imaginary. Gale seemed to take delight in telling the world he made up Diane, and that anyone who believed him had been duped. Everyone's gotta have a hobby, we guess.
The Mysterious Girlfriend of Manti Te'o
Perhaps the most unbelievable hoax of the year was the unlikely case of football player Manti Te'o's girlfriend. The linebacker captured his fans' hearts with a tearjerking story of his long-distance companion Lennay Kekua, who succumbed to cancer after a long battle. The only problem? Not only did she not die, she never existed in the first place.
Deadspin got to the bottom of how Te'o's friend Ronaiah Tuiasosopo fooled everyone from the sports press to Te'o himself by pretending to be his fake girlfriend online and over the phone.
Kanye's Mandela Comments
Kanye West has a history of making self-important statements, to put it lightly. So when The Daily Currant ran an interview with Kanye in which he claimed he was "the next" Nelson Mandela, many took the bait and fell for it.
But The Daily Currant is a satire website, in the sense that they have a long history of running fake news stories without any discernible jokes and hide behind "satire" when people think the stories are real. Pro-tip: If you ever see a story from The Daily Currant, remind yourself that the content is totally made up. Then leave the website and never return to it.
Entitled Jerk Google Employee
Remember when a video surfaced of a Google employee lashing out at San Francisco protestors in such a disgusting way that Valleywag said he "personifies almost every single thing worth protesting"?
Yeah, that was his mission all along. Actor and activist Max Bell Alper really just wanted to tell the city of San Francisco: "These companies, like Google, should be proud of where they're from and invest in their communities."
Lesbian Waitress Gets A Bigoted Receipt
Progressives everywhere were outraged when New Jersey waitress Dayna Morales, who identifies as a lesbian, posted a receipt from a couple who denied her a tip because they did not approve of her "lifestyle."
But quickly, her story unraveled. The diners in question came forward and insisted they did nothing of the sort, offering their credit card statement as proof. Then, the U.S. Marines revealed that her service, which she proudly touted, ended when she was dishonorably discharged, and donations she had acquired from well-wishers were refunded after her employers and coworkers recalled that she had a long history of deception. She lost her job, too.
So remember, the next time you wish to publicly shame bigots, make sure your story is airtight.
Playboy's Anti-Rape Campaign Is Anti-Real
Plenty of people were excited that Playboy took a bold stance against sexual assault in September when the "Playboy Party Guide" said in part that "Consent is all about everyone having a good time."
But it was too good to be true. The "Top Ten Party Commandments" and its sexual assault stance were the work of Force, an anti-rape advocacy group. Unlike some other hoaxes this year, we can get behind this prank's activism.
Andy Kaufman's "Daughter" Says He's Alive
Andy Kaufman died in 1982, but that hasn't stopped a small cottage industry fueled by the possibility that he still lives. Bob Zmuda, Kaufman's former partner in crime, is usually the one fanning the flames of speculation that Kaufman faked his own death. But this year during the final round of the Andy Kaufman Awards, which rewards unique and unorthodox comedians, a woman claiming to be Kaufman's daughter shared the stage with Kaufman's brother and told the audience that her father is alive and well.
It wasn't long until her real identity was discovered. The woman was really an actress, and while Kaufman's brother publicly claimed he was the victim of a hoax, it seems likely that the two were probably in cahoots.
And sadly, Andy Kaufman is still dead.
Jay Leno's "Pumpcast News" Singers
Jay Leno isn't exactly synonymous with "viral Internet videos," so it was particularly surprising and delightful when a video of a random couple singing impromptu Bon Jovi and Eurythmics tunes at a gas station spread like wildfire.
But the "random" couple appears to not be so random after all -- they had appeared on Leno's show in the same segment in a clip the year before. While they denied that the repeat appearance was anything more than a coincidence, the illusion of spontaneity was definitely shattered.