The broom challenge took the internet by storm on Monday as videos flooded social media of people standing up their broomsticks on the bristles. The reason? A fake claim spread on social media that NASA said it would only work on one specific date, February 10.
From news anchors to celebrities, everyone seemed to be trying it out and posting photos and video. They were spurred on by the idea that it’s only possible one day a year because of the planet’s gravitational pull on the vernal equinox. But there was no such message from NASA, and the spring equinox doesn’t actually happen until March 19.
NASA confirmed in a statement to CBS News on Tuesday that there’s no truth to the broom challenge. “This is another social media hoax that exemplifies how quickly pseudoscience and false claims can go viral. 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 NASA.gov for real science fun facts — before jumping into the latest viral craze.”
It was easy enough CBS News’ Vladimir Duthiers to disprove the bogus claim. He performed the challenge from his office and the broom stood up without any extra help on Tuesday morning, February 11.
The trend bears similarity to the theory that eggs can only stay balanced on their ends during the equinoxes — an idea has been continuously debunked by science, according to Snopes.com. Still, despite suspicions that the broom challenge wasn’t based on fact, many people still had fun giving it a try.