A fake news story states that Dasani Water has been recalled due to the discovery of a parasite in thousands of bottles across the U.S.
The disturbing headline has circulated via a number of fake news websites which produce shocking stories meant to go viral from sharing by readers who don’t fact-check the source.
In the case of this faux news item, we read:
If you purchase/drink Dasani water you might want to listen up. There has been a major recall by the Coca-Cola company today after several thousand bottles of their drinking water was found to be contaminated with a parasite. It has sent several hundred people to the hospital and is responsible for parasitic symptoms such as fever, rash, vomiting and stomach bloating.
The convincing story was published on the website News4KTLA.com, with a name which closely resembles KTLA in Los Angeles – although the real KTLA is channel 5, not channel 4. Further, the website’s “About” states that it is “local news for southern Louisiana and the surrounding area.” There is no KTLA in Louisiana, and the channel 4 news there is WWL.
We have also found the story spreading to other click-bait sites such as the benign-sounding FoodAndOurHealth.com or healthysolutionsmagazine.com.
A quick whois search for the domain news4ktla.com reveals that the site was only created in February 2016, and hosts a small number of fake stories which are clearly meant to be shared.
The image used to share the fake story does not feature a parasite at all, but rather an eel larva known as Leptocephalus.
In response to rumors that their water had been recalled, Dasani fielded a number of questions on social media. Below is an example of the responses offered by Dasani.
“… as we communicated in our message, there is no current recall of any DASANI products in the US, and any rumors such as this are false. Thanks for reaching out!”
Dasani was not recalled due to a parasite found in bottles across the U.S. The fake story was spread by a number of click-bait websites. The photo used an eel larva, not a parasite, and Dasani has confirmed that the rumor is completely false.