FORTUNE — “A lie can be halfway round the world,” goes the old adage, “before the truth has got its boots on.”
Case in point: I was walking the dog in Brooklyn’s Prospect Park Thursday morning when I heard the news that Samsung had tried to pay Apple (AAPL) $1.05 billion in damages with 30 truck-loads of nickels.
The story, variously attributed to Paperblog and 9gag, first surfaced in late August, shortly after a California jury ruled that a couple dozen of Samsung’s Android devices had infringed Apple’s smartphone patents.
Accompanied by the photo above and a snarky quote from Samsung chairman Lee Kun-hee, the meme made its way to Facebook and Twitter, where it took on a life of its own — and continues to spread to this day.
It is, however, a hoax.
Nickels may be legal tender in the U.S., but no company is obliged to accept them as payment for a debt of any size, never mind one as large as Samsung’s.
Besides, as Ken Tindell helpfully tweeted when the story first appeared on the Web, 20 billion nickels at 5 grams each would fill 2,755 18-wheel trucks (maximum legal weight: 80,000 lbs.).