Last night, Adam turned to me and said, “Blake Griffin smacked Justin Bieber in a Starbucks.” After we sorted out who Blake Griffin is (a player for the LA Clippers) and what the LA Clippers are (a basketball team), I asked for the details. Adam informed me that according to the article, Bieber was trying to order a caramel machiatto while shirtless, which the barista forbade, leading to Bieber shouting at him and threatening to have his bodyguard kick his ass. Griffin tried to intervene, and when Bieber wouldn’t calm down he “slapped the shit out of him” according to a witness, who also reported that Bieber was crying when he left the shop.
When Adam finished, I replied, “Yeah, that sounds like it definitely didn’t happen.”
And sure enough, it didn’t, as Bieber hasn’t even been in LA in the past few weeks. Even though that debunking was published on the 10th, I’m still seeing the story floating around on social media. With that in mind, here are a few tips to help you figure out if that hilarious viral story you’re reading is worthy of skepticism:
1. Does it involve the humiliation of the person the Internet hates the most?
Be skeptical of any story involving the comeuppance of Justin Bieber, Joseph Kony, Ann Coulter, Nickelback, Miley Cyrus, or any woman, ever.
2. No seriously, does every detail only increase the total amount of humiliation?
Is the subject reaching a new level of insufferable? For instance, are they shirtless and threatening to have their bodyguards to the work of beating someone up?
3. For real though, every god damn detail?
Is the subject not beat up “like a man” but instead slapped around? Do they run away crying?
If all the above are true, you may have a hoax on your hands. Fact check before sharing on social media.
To learn from more examples, see r/thathappened.