There has been a lot of talk about ‘hoaxes’ recently, more than usual. Is this a serious problem? On the one hand, I hate the spread of misinformation. It makes intelligent debate more difficult. On the other hand, sometimes it’s actually kind of funny, and not malicious at all.
So, like graffiti and some of the milder sorts of sexual misconduct, I think the important thing is to separate this into different categories. The story of the three breasted woman which, I confess, I believed at first, was harmless and kind of funny. It could have been true. I’m sure it’s within the reach of modern technology. If they can give people cochlear implants, if they can give people artificial legs that make them track stars, then certainly they can give a lady a 3rd tit. And, seeing as how there are people who get horn implants to make them look like a devil, it’s not too much of a surprise that at least one crazy woman out there would want to be Betty Three Boobs.
Ditto the story about the artist who was raking it in hand over fist by painting ‘invisible art.’ Maybe not quite as plausible, but still, just a harmless joke.
The stuff they print in The Currant and a couple of other sites like that is less funny, and a bit more malicious. It’s clear they are trying to pollute the commons, to insert so much bullshit into the free market of opinions that the whole place will stink and nobody will want to shop there. I wish they could be rooted out, exposed, and driven from the scene, but on the other hand, they are still protected by free speech. Even morons are protected by free speech. Even devious, little weasels like them are protected by free speech.
The Emma Watson nude pictures hoax is in a 3rd category, which isn’t really a hoax at all. It was a threat, an attempt at coercion, and not funny. As a threat, it turned out to be empty. It’s entirely possible that no nude pictures of Emma Watson exist. At any rate, the creep who said he had some had no such thing.
And, he was just trying to hype his site, to generate traffic by stirring the shit.
So, maybe it was a hoax from his end, but I’d say from a legal definition he could still be charged with attempted extortion and blackmail.
“I was only joking” makes a poor defense in court.