Today, I’m going to show you just how easy it is to create a fake Facebook story that gets shared hundreds of thousands of times. A facebook friend of mine shared this story about my hometown which appears to be from a news site called breakingnews247.net.

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Several things about this struck me as suspicious. And since I used to be in the news business, I’m somewhat familiar with the names of news websites. Guess what? Breakingnews24.net is a site where people can make up anything they want and post it. Truthfully, most people just share it without every checking the link.  But tap on it and you’ll go to a site that strongly encourages you to share.

 

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Scroll down and you’ll see the option to create a new prank.

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Yep, this is one of the often talked about fake news sites. If you scroll down to the very bottom, you’ll see the disclaimer that it’s all made up stuff.

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To create a prank, all you have to do is title it and type the article.

 

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The site will even find images for you. Then all you have to do is hit publish and share.

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Let’s check out the most popular 24/7 pranks. This one is clearly a joke.

 

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This purported health story is harmless. But you could make up any health statistic you wanted. This has been shared 108,346 times. Remember you could claim drinking Windex cured cancer and put it up here. And there would probably be quite a few people who believed it.

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Then there are stories like this one about satanic rituals in a roller rink. Are they harmless? Or could they really incite fear in the community?

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Or this one about a cat-eating clown. How much did stories like this feed the irrational clown panic that spread across the country?

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The problem with this site, it that you could use anyone’s name and accuse them of anything. You could make up anything about a person or a business or an organization. If you make it juicy enough, people will share it. And that story could be shared hundreds of thousands of times.   Notice the horse story was actually shared by a profession equine group. And I found several fake political stories aimed at every party.

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I’ve told you before about a woman who posted a false story claiming that her ex-boyfriend was wanted to child sexual abuse. It was shared tens of thousands of times with his photo. There have been places around the world where fake stories like this have actually incited riots where people were killed. Not yet in the U.S., but you really never know.

So the next time you see some type of outrageous or unlikely story, look at where it comes from. If it’s from breakingnews247.net, it’s something someone made up.