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Hoax Alert

Fake News: Trey Gowdy's Son NOT Missing, Capitol NOT On Lockdown

  • by: Maarten Schenk
  • (Fri, 19 May 2017 21:12:57 Z)

The satirical/fake news website The Resistance: The Last Line of Defense posted an article today bearing the title: "BREAKING: Trey Gowdy's Son Missing, Capitol On Lockdown, Very Hush-Hush". It starts dramatically:

There is very little coming out of the capitol this hour. If you weren't one of the half dozen outlets with someone inside, this story probably hasn't reached you yet. LLOD reporter Skip Tetheluda reports from the GOP wing of the US Capitol:

"There are hostage negotiators from the FBI as well as agents from every intelligence service combing through footage of video cameras as to whether this is worst case scenario or just a matter of a lost boy. The media was immediately hushed out but those few of us who were there in the beginning heard Congressman Gowdy shout in a loud, panicked voice, 'Goddamit, where the (expletive) is my boy!?'"

The picture that goes with the article is not actually from any Capitol lockdown but from the Comet Ping Pong shooting in Washington D.C. where a conspiracy theorist showed up with a gun in a pizza place he believed was used by a child trafficking ring.

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The Resistance: The Last Line of Defense is in fact a fake news website that carries following disclaimer on its about page:

DISCLAIMER: The Resistance may include information from sources that may or may not be reliable and facts that don't necessarily exist. All articles should be considered satirical and any and all quotes attributed to actual people complete and total baloney. Pictures that represent actual people should be considered altered and not in any way real.

The site also tends to include nonsensical phrases or insults hints in the list of "categories" under the article titles:

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According to Buzzfeed the site was originally meant to troll conservatives with over the top satirical articles but now appears to be used as a 'source' by a large network of actual fake news sites (not related to the original creator) that all repost the same articles mentioning it as the source but not acknowlediging the satire disclaimer. This causes many people to believe the fake stories especially when they are being shared on social media where all context is removed and only the title, image and description remain. Sites in the network appear to include:

The story is already being shared on social media as you can see in the Trendolizer graph at the end of this article and it will undoubtedly be picked up by various other fake news websites. Please help stop spread this rumor before some nutjob with a gun shows up at the Capitol and people get hurt.

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About the author:

Maarten Schenk is our resident expert on fake news and hoax websites. He likes to go beyond just debunking trending fake news stories and is endlessly fascinated by the dazzling variety of psychological and technical tricks used by the people and networks who intentionally spread made-up things on the internet.  He can often be found at conferences and events about fake news, disinformation and fact checking when he is not in his office in Belgium monitoring and tracking the latest fake article to go viral.

Read more about or contact Maarten Schenk
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Lead Stories uses the Trendolizer™ engine to detect the most trending stories from known fake news, satire and prank websites and tries to debunk them as fast as possible. Read more about how we work and how we select stories to check here.

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