VERIFY – YOU’VE GOT QUESTIONS, WE’LL FIND ANSWERS
A 9NEWS project to make sure what you’ve heard is true, accurate, verified. Want us to verify something for you? Email firstname.lastname@example.org
Another day, another round of rumors spreading across social media.
You may have come across posts like the ones below on your social media feed with varying claims:
- “One of Colorado’s major attractions closing Oct. 1 2017 casa bonita"
- “Dollar Tree to close all stores Oct 1, 2017”
- “LAW PASSED: All Child Support in the United States Will End by Beginning of 2018”
The 9NEWS Verify team looked into where these posts came from.
WHAT WE FOUND
The posts were created using websites where users can create articles to share on social media as a prank.
Under the “most popular” section of one of the sites, the headline for an article created Thursday reads, “New York City Woman Loses Her Temper, Causes Black Hole To Swallow Her Entire Town.”
The sites instruct users to create a “fake” and “catchy title for your joke.”
There are multiple domains that point to one website. The URL http://www.react365.com/ links to the same place as http://www.breakingnews247.net/.
A disclaimer at the bottom of the page explains the content is “created by users” and the purpose of the website is merely for entertainment.
"These are humourous [sic] news, fantasy, fictional, that should not be seriously taken or as a source of information,” according to the site.
Verify found an article about ending child support on Facebook, which had more than 300,000 shares, and linked to a site called “tmzbreaking,” which claims it’s a “satire entertainment website.”
The article directs readers to Channel50news.com for the full story.
“Channel50News” is another very similar website, which also allows users to create prank articles.
This site has a very comparable, yet seemingly ironic, disclaimer.
“We do NOT support FAKE NEWS!!! This is a Prank website that is intended for Fun. Bullying, Violent Threats or posts that Violate Public Order are NOT permitted on this Website.”
The 9NEWS Verify team spoke on the phone with a Casa Bonita manager who confirmed the restaurant is not closing Oct. 1, and has no plans to close whatsoever.
The Dollar Tree corporate office confirmed the company will not close all of its stores, adding, "the company is in the process of opening approximately 650 new stores in 2017."
These fake posts serve as a reminder, when you come across news and information online and on social media, double check the source – after all it could just be from a bogus article generator.
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