Rarely has a publicity stunt so vividly demonstrated how an erroneous story, set viral on the Internet, can fool millions of people.
This past June, a Dutch woman posted a video to her YouTube channel, featuring what appeared to be a tattoo on her arm comprised of her 152 Facebook friends. The image spread like wildfire. News outlets, bloggers and, yes, even TIME.com, started buzzing about the tattoo using it as a springboard for a wider discussion about our absurd obsession with social networking.
But absurd was the key word. Tattoo artist Dex Moelker later told the Amsterdam newspaper Telegraaf that the YouTube video was just a publicity stunt, and that the tattoo ink would wash off in a couple days.