As every single one of the millions upon millions of Ummahsonic readers know, we are currently on a mission to expose the worst incidents of fake news on the internet: to slice a scalpel through the bloated corpse of alternative facts; to hack away at the unkempt hedgerow of wrong information; to call not-real viral stuff dumb.
Anyways, last week we debunked a ‘racist’ train incident, questioned a Whatsapp divorce, and laughed off an outfit change. This week, the stories are as equally un-B. Welcome to the second instalment of TWiFN. Let’s go!
What website? MAD World News, 6 December 2016
What’s the story? An article from last year resurfaces on the homepage of a ‘news’ website, reporting divine intervention on the border between Syria and Israel. An ominous cloud sent by God reportedly stopped an ISIS attack.
Is it Fake? Yes
Why? Well, firstly, there’s no indication that the video was filmed during, before or after an ISIS attack, nor is there any evidence of the cloud ‘halting’ it. And secondly, it’s a shelf cloud, something seen in stormy, expansive landscapes the world over.
According to Accuweather, our favourite website for weather & weather information, shelf clouds ‘are low-hanging, horizontal cloud features attached to the front side of lines of storms or even a single storm…. they are just another scary-looking cloud.’
Verdict: The video shows a group of Israeli soldiers looking at a cloud. Mad World News has decided this is a miraculous ISIS defeat and bad news for liberals, or something. It’s clear from the last paragraph that this story has been written with the sole purpose of winding people up: ‘Far leftists hate this kind of report, which gives people hope and makes us know God is here with us and He is in control – not the liberals.’
What website? Newsiosity, 12 March 2017
What’s the story? A woman called Ashley Hardacre found a flannel shirt tied to her car windshield-wiper. Fearing it might be a way for human traffickers to steal her car/her, she drove away before attempting to remove the garment. She uploaded her story (plus photo of the shirt) to Facebook, which went viral.
Is it Fake? We’re not sure what to believe any more.
Why? In a sense, tying a shirt to a car windshield wiper seems like it could be an effective way to distract someone as they unlocked their vehicle. But then again, are human traffickers really plying their trade in this manner? In Michigan? What’s the deal?
Verdict: According to Fake News debunking veterans Snopes, Ashley’s photo of the shirt was wrongly attributed to a story where a ‘lure’ like this did lead to someone’s kidnap. In some cases, the photo Ashley uploaded of the shirt ran alongside reports of the actual kidnap. But Ashley’s pic and that story have nothing to do with each other. Police in Michigan have since stated that no crime of this nature has ever occurred in the area.
On that confusing note, let’s lighten it up a little with our last story.
What website? NBC New York, 9 March 2017
What’s the story? A pig joins the New York Police Department
Is it Fake? Yes. But we wish it wasn’t!!
Why? Because it’s just a cute pig in a NYPD uniform. Even so, it’s the kind of story that makes everything seem just that little bit better. Check out the pics!
— Laura Nahmias (@nahmias) March 8, 2017
Verdict: This is the good sort of fake news.
Check back next week for more fake news, and more *fingers crossed* animals in funny outfits.