Standing Broom Sweeps Media: Reality or Hoax

(Source: Flickr/Barret Anspach)

Twitter was set ablaze over the latest viral challenge focused around balancing a broomstick. People all over the world have flooded Twitter along with other social media outlets with posts of them balancing a broomstick in an attempt to demonstrate a unique gravitational pull that allegedly occurred on Feb. 10th.

The challenge especially gained traction when Twitter user mikailaaaaa wrote “Okay so NASA said today was the only day a broom can stand up on its own because of the gravitational pull…I didn’t believe it at first but OMG!”

The tweet that started it all.

The tweet gained over 250,000 likes despite zero confirmation from NASA of an unusual gravitational pull. Nonetheless, #broomchallenge has been trending worldwide with thousands of people posting videos and pictures of their house brooms standing up. But is this really due to a surreal gravitational pull?

This social media craze finally caught the attention of NASA, who released a statement emailed to insider debunking the myth.  “While this hoax was harmless, it also shows why it’s important for all of us to do some fact-checking and research – including checking in with @NASA and for real science fun facts – before jumping into the latest viral craze.”

NASA continued to set the record straight by taking to Twitter the day after the supposed phenomenon. A video of NASA scientist Sara Noble and Astronaut Alvin Drew was posted, demonstrating how “basic physics works every day of the year – not just February 10th.”

(Source: Twitter/NASA)

Within an hour, the tweet received roughly 4000 likes. Not quite as impressive as the original trend-setting tweet but still a rather noteworthy example of how quickly misinformation can spread via social media. 

“This is another social media hoax that exemplifies how quickly pseudoscience and false claims can go viral,” NASA said.

Samuel J. Claude
Managing Editor

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