A humorous or malicious deception usually created to generate believe, sympathy or fear, using mechanisms to persuade by false proofs

Can become disinformation when the receiver of the information doesn’t notice or isn’t aware of the false proofs and as a result believes the hoax message

What is a hoax?

What actually is a hoax? Read this comprehensive material on what hoaxes are is and how to recognise them. (resource by GData Software). Also, here is a great collection of hoaxes curated by History.com.


The Spaghetti Tree

The spaghetti-tree hoax was a three-minute hoax report broadcast on April Fools' Day 1957 by the BBC current-affairs programme Panorama, purportedly showing a family in southern Switzerland harvesting spaghetti from the family "spaghetti tree". At the time spaghetti was relatively little known in the UK, so many Britons were unaware that it is made from wheat flour and water; a number of viewers afterwards contacted the BBC for advice on growing their own spaghetti trees.

The video featured groups of farmers, working in pairs, "harvesting" spaghetti noodles from branches, and lying them out in the sun in large baskets to dry. The announcer, BBC's respected Richard Dimbleby, noted that the spaghetti harvest would be particularly bountiful that year, thanks to the almost complete eradication of the spaghetti tree’s main predator, the spaghetti weevil.

Panorama cameraman Charles de Jaeger dreamed up the story after remembering how teachers at his school in Austria teased his classmates for being so stupid that if they were told that spaghetti grew on trees, they would believe it.

At the time, 7 million of the 15.8 million homes in Britain had television receivers. An estimated eight million people watched the programme on 1 April, and hundreds phoned in the following day to question the authenticity of the story or ask for more information about spaghetti cultivation and how they could grow their own spaghetti trees.

The Moon hoax

There is an abundance of theories and websites that try to persuade people that there’s never been a human landing on the Moon. Here is one recap of the arguments and debate surrounding the issue. But regardless of the numerous and meticulous debunking of these beliefs, they persist.

In March 2018, the online edition Chinadaily reported data from a poll showing the 57% of Russians believe that there has never been a manned lunar landing and are convinced that the US government falsified videos, photos and other material evidence regarding the 1969 Apollo 11 expedition (poll by the Russian Public Opinion Research Center - VCIOM).

Another poll made in the UK in 2016 reportedly showed a stunning 52% of those surveyed think that the Apollo 11 Moon landing – clearly one of the most well-documented and truly defining moments of our species’ entire history – was faked. Horrifically, those aged 25 to 34 were the most deluded, with 73 percent of them considering the entire thing to be a highly elaborate hoax.