A message that deceives people into thinking that something is true when it isn’t. Hoaxes can be rumors, urban legends, pseudoscience, or April Fool’s stories that are accepted as truth. A hoax can be linked with and is similar in nature to the term “fake news,” although the term “hoax” is broader in meaning. A hoax could be a fake message telling you that your device is infected with malware and the only way to remove it is to send it to your friends, click a link, or download some sort of software. Sometimes it leads to you annoying your friends, but most often it ends up with you getting an actual virus.
Hoaxes are designed to be spread — they are constructed with sharing in mind. So they often play on human emotions to evoke greed, anger, or sadness. They usually use vague information and half-truths to create a genuine-sounding emotional story that makes people believe it and interact with it.
To recognize a hoax, ask yourself a few questions: