Anatomy of an Internet Hoax

You recall the classic comic caption, "On the internet, nobody knows you're a dog." Many people were following the story of David Rose, also known as Dave on Wheels, on Blogger and Twitter. Dave told of his struggles as a man who is deaf and has cerebral palsy. He recently left a long "final post" before he died. Canadian blogger K-A hadn't been following the story, but when she heard about it, she started digging into it. What she found was a hoax. A simple Google image search revealed that Dave's pictures actually belonged to a young man in Virginia named Hunter Dunn.

So after seeing this, naturally my stomach sank. First, because one of my closest friends was so affected by Dave, and his message, although not true, was positive. At this point I wasn't sure whether it would be the right thing to come forward with the information because so many people were affected in a positive way. At the same time though, I realized this wasn't just any ordinary person impersonating some ordinary person. This was some "able bodied" person (referencing his final blog post) impersonating someone that is affected by this horrible disorder. And if anyone deserves credit for having a beautiful mind it is Hunter Dunn. So I searched on.   

K-A lays all her research out on a web page, and the person behind the hoax left a series of comments explaining -and justifying- the fiction. It's a fascinating read, whether you are familiar with the story of Dave on Wheels or not. The Dave on Wheels blog and the Twitter account have since been deleted, but a Twitter search revealed reactions to the hoax.

Link -via Shaun Usher


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Look up Kysa Braswell if you want to read about the queen (well, in reality the king) of Internet hoaxes. Then there was that monk in San Francisco who only lived on the Usenet cats groups.
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