Back in June, Vice's Oobah Butler wrote about a sequence of dinner dates he had with people with a history of leaving spiteful reviews of restaurants on TripAdvisor. It turns out that there was a particular reason for his fascination with reviews on the site: he was in the middle of a secret attempt to get the shed in his garden to be ranked as the #1 restaurant in London, without actually serving a single meal. Incredibly, he succeeded - here's his tale of how it happened, and what transpired when, with mission accomplished, he finally made the fiction a reality and started serving up gourmet grub procured from, ahem, Iceland.
In a review of Michael Cumming's Brass Eye film Oxide Ghosts that I've just written for Buzz, I echo the director's view that creating hoaxes is far harder in the internet age because facts can be verified at the click of a mouse. Perhaps, though, as Butler's project illustrates, the opposite is somehow also true: social media and sites like TripAdvisor can actually fan the flames of hoaxes, rather than extinguishing them, with gullible punters falling over themselves to experience something that's talked up as exclusive, extraordinary and secret.
(Thanks to Abbie for the link.)