Today we offer a rundown of fake and bizarre stories circulating online for October 17, 2014.
Ebola is a Hoax?
A “report” heavily shared on social media, entitled “Ebo-lie” by an author named “Kwame” claims that a man living in Ghana has “confirmed” that Ebola is a hoax. A common headline spotted on social media reads, “Ebo-Lie: Man Living In Ghana Confirms Ebola Is A Hoax!” The alleged revelation has been promoted largely by fringe conspiracy websites.
The article lists 4 reasons by Ebola is a hoax, stating that the illness is “only contracted by those who receive treatments and injections from the Red Cross.” The first reason cited for this alleged plot is to move troops into Nigeria in order to “steal the new oil reserves they have discovered.” The second reason is to allow easy access to Sierra Leone’s diamond mines, while the third reason is to force Ebola vaccinations onto unsuspecting Africans.
The final reason that Ebola is said to be a hoax is to push an “Ebola vaccine” onto the masses.
The rants by Kwame include some valid points regarding the manipulation of African resources. The author, however, doesn’t provide any sources or evidence for his claims other than links to other fringe websites. He also appears to confuse common vaccinations with a non-existent “Ebola vaccine.” The article uses standard conspiracy theorist conjecture and open-ended questions in lieu of actual evidence that can hold up against scrutiny.
Ebola has been thoroughly documented since the 1970’s by a wide array of respected medical establishments. The widely-circulated article by Kwame claiming Ebola is a hoax doesn’t cite any respected medical literature to back its claims.
Local Ebola Hoaxes
In addition to the claims that Ebola is a hoax, there have been a handful of local Ebola scares and hoaxes around the country. In Alaska, police were investigating what was referred to as a “Twitter Ebola Hoax” in which a fake press release was distributed. That tweet stated, “Ebola found in West High School in the lunches and water fountains.” The Anchorage School District confirmed that the tweet was fake.
An Ohio woman, in an attempt to receive prompt medical treatment, called authorities to claim she had traveled to West African and began experiencing Ebola-like symptoms.
Satirical/Fake Ebola Stories
Jenny McCarthy’s Lemon Juice Ebola Cure
Satire website The Daily Currant posted a humorous story about a fictitious appearance by Jenny McCarthy on the Today Show, in which she cited evidence that her cure “lemon juice cure” worked. Most readers of The Daily Currant know that its articles are humorous, but some readers have shared the article with the belief that it is legitimate news.
Ann Coulter Suggests Ebola for Migrant Children
Another humorous piece by The Daily Currant states that conservative writer and commentator Ann Coulter proposed infecting migrant children with Ebola and sending them across the border. The outrageous nature of that headline has prompted some social media readers to investigate the veracity of the report – which, of course, is not true.
Bono Has Ebola
Earlier this week, a fake story by the website Organ Grinder Magazine circulated claiming that Bono had contracted Ebola. The photo it used as proof was actually taken back in 2010 when the singer had back surgery.
In other Bono health news, On October 17 it was reported by TMZ that Bono revealed his signature indoor sunglasses are actually donned because he has glaucoma.
Drinking Bleach Cures Ebola
A graphic which was apparently created as a joke states that drinking bleach can cure Ebola. The outlandish graphic claims that 7 billion people have died from Ebola, and that bleach is “totally harmless to humans.” While most readers get the joke, it should be stated that drinking bleach can kill you and will not cure Ebola.
See this link for our list of some of the more popular Ebola fake stories circulating recently.
Other Satire and Fake News
In addition to the wealth of fake Ebola stories in circulation, social media is rife with fake and satirical stories, some of the recirculating from months ago. Here are some of the popular fake stories going around today.
Scientists Prove Life After Death
A satire piece from September continues to circulate heavily this week. In this fictional work from World News Daily Report, we read that German scientists have “proven” life after death. The amazing headline has been enough for social media readers to share the story without looking closely at the source: World News Daily Report, a “satirical” website.
Breaking Bad Season 6
Social media lit up with rumors about the possibility of a 6th season of the popular series Breaking Bad. The rumor has been promoted by two different fake news websites: Empire News and National Report in separate “satire” pieces on the subject. There is no truth to the rumors of a Breaking Bad Season 6, although a “prequel” entitled Better Call Saul has been slated for a January 2015 debut.
15-Ton Prehistoric Shark
A fake report from World News Daily Report from September is making its rounds again. This story claims that a 15-ton prehistoric shark was discovered near Pakistan. The story is fake, and the world’s largest sharks are nowhere near the size claimed in the false story.
Michael Jackson Alive in Canada
Another Empire News offering asserts that Michael Jackson is alive in Canada, living under the name “Alain Pontifex.” The story is fake, but has gained a moderate amount of social media attention on Friday.
Bizarre Real News
Below are some popular stories that seem too strange to be real – but are in fact true.
Chinese Lottery Winner in Bear Suit
A Chinese man who won an $85 million lottery jackpot showed up to collect his winnings in a yellow bear costume in order to hide his identity. The winner of the third-largest jackpot in that lottery’s history spoke to the media while wearing the costume.
Missing Parrot Returns Speaking a Different Language
In 2010, a parrot named Nigel who belonged to a British man living in California flew away and was not seen again. Prior to his escape, Nigel sang and spoke with a British accent. The bird had been found and taken in by a Panamanian woman who believed it was her lost parrot. Eventually the mistake was discovered and the bird was returned to its rightful owner this month. While away from its original owner, the parrot learned Spanish and now asks for a person named Larry.
What fake or odd news stories have you seen circulating today?