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The Best April Fool's Jokes We Almost Fell For

Seven of the cleverest hoaxes that broke the internet.
IMAGE Nissin/Tinder
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Come and behold the marvelous spectacle! Majestic lions bathing in the moat of the Tower of London! A crowd of naive victims fell for these rumors and turned up excited to see the lions but were disappointed to find out it was fake news. The year was 1698 and this was the earliest known record of an April Fools’ prank.

In today’s digital culture, April Fools’ jokes and hoaxes have gotten more sophisticated. Since the rise of the internet and social media, it has never been easier to make fools out of a mass audience. We should always be aware of how sinister and dangerous the spread of misinformation can be. So let April Fools’ Day serve as a reminder to not be so gullible, but also to not be so gloomy and serious. 

Laughter can be therapeutic, especially in the most troubling times. So let’s look back at some of the cleverest and silliest April Fools’ jokes from around the world in recent years.

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Nissin Cup Noodle Headphones

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For last year’s April Fools’ Day, Japanese food company Nissin, the original inventor of cup noodles, announced its new collab with gaming hardware manufacturer Hyper X, launching the HyperX Cup MIX-IN headphones.

Nissin had pulled a similar PR stunt a couple years earlier, announcing the release of their slurp-canceling forks. These hoax products have proven to be clever promotional tools, as the announcements generated a lot of hype on social media. Consumers joked about how much they wished the new merch were real.

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Tinder Height Verification

People often present an inflated, idealized version of themselves in their online dating profiles. On Tinder, lots of men describe themselves as being taller than they really are. To combat this dishonesty, the dating app announced last year that they were installing a Height Verification feature.   

The announcement came a few days before April 1, so not everyone was expecting it to be an April Fools’ prank. The new feature came as a shock for many, who voiced their outrage on Twitter. It seems some guys can’t take a joke, as some reactions included angry comments about how short men were the victims of “body shaming.”  

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Google Maps Pokémon Challenge

 

In 2014, the Google Maps team created its most convincing April Fools’ joke. So convincing that the joke eventually became a reality.

In partnership with The Pokémon Company, it developed the Google Maps Pokémon Challenge, in which users had to navigate real-world maps to capture Pokémon in different locations. Tatsuo Nomura, one of the software developers behind the Google Maps April Fools’ jokes, would later create the hugely popular smartphone game, Pokémon Go.

The global tech giant has produced some of the most innovative April Fools’ jokes and has released fresh hoaxes or parody products every year since 2004. The jokes played out on Google Maps have often taken the form of fun little games. In 2015, for example, Google built the Pac-Man game into its maps, where users could evade the ghosts and eat the glowing dots on real-world streets.  

YouTube SnoopaVision

 

For YouTube’s 2016 April Fools’ Day gag, it unveiled a brand-new feature, SnoopaVision. At the click a button, you can enjoy this immersive experience that lets you watch videos in 360 degrees, accompanied by Snoop Dogg. With SnoopaVision, every video is a reaction video. Viewers can share the experience of watching a video with the iconic rapper, as he regales you with his wise, insightful commentaries.

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Reaction videos have become more popular on YouTube over the past decade. Think how many YouTubers have built a career out of making videos of themselves watching other videos and then providing some amusing background commentary.  

Groupon Flat Earth Globes

The American e-commerce company, Groupon, announced in 2017 it would give away Flat Earth Globes, using the April Fools’ Day joke to make fun of Flat Earther conspiracy theorists. Modern science has provided us with empirical evidence that our planet is shaped like a sphere. Yet there have always been people who refuse to trust established experts. Flat Earthers insist the photos of a spherical Earth taken by scientific institutions like NASA are fake and part of some evil big government conspiracy.   

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Groupon dedicated the 2-D printouts of a world map to the celebrities who have been vocal in their belief of the Flat Earth theory, such as the NBA stars Shaquille O’Neal and Kyrie Irving. Other famous Flat Earthers include Bobby Ray Simmons Jr., better known as the rapper B.o.B, who set up a crowdfunding campaign aiming to send up satellites to take photos proving that our world is flat. Mr. Simmons has not yet provided his conclusive evidence.   

Skittles Upside-down Rainbow

The candy brand Skittles launched a colorful marketing campaign on April 1, 2018. Several Instagram influencers in Bondi Beach, Sydney posted photos of a smiling upside-down rainbow, while the Australian weather forecaster Weatherzone posted a scientific explanation of how upside-down rainbows are formed.

The truth is there weren’t any upside-down rainbows in Sydney that day. Skittles, whose well-known tagline is “Taste the rainbow,” revealed it was all a hoax. Many people believed in this harmless joke orchestrated by the Skittles marketing team, which coordinated the campaign with the relevant social media personalities and one trustworthy scientific voice. Turns out in this day and age all you need are social clout and some basic photo editing tools to be convincing on the internet.  

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May the Force Be with EU – CERN

Photo by CERN.

CERN, the world’s most prestigious research institution for particle physics, announced in 2015 it had harnessed the power of the Force. Star Wars is no longer a mere sci-fi dream, as the world’s leading scientists have discovered the source of the Jedi’s abilities.

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According to the official CERN website, “The Force is what gives a particle physicist his powers,” said CERN theorist Ben Kenobi of the University of Mos Eisley, Tatooine. “It’s an energy field created by all living things. It surrounds us; and penetrates us; it binds the galaxy together.”

It is rather refreshing to see that the keepers of the Large Hadron Collider, the great minds seeking the answers to the origins of our universe, are happy to not take themselves too seriously. 

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Ira Lee
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