Just Because It's Trending Doesn't Mean It's True
Hoax Alert

Newest Site From 'Ghana' Fake News Network Copies Christopher Blair's Footer

  • by: Maarten Schenk
  • (Tue, 15 May 2018 13:58:59 Z)

About three weeks ago Lead Stories reported on a network of fake news websites apparently centered around Ghana in Africa that was responsible for several huge death hoaxes. After our investigation got too close for comfort the entire network suddenly went down:

Global Fake News Network Responsible For Dozens of Death Hoaxes Shuts Down After Ghana Connections Revealed | Lead Stories

STORY UPDATED: check for updates below. On April 17, 2018 former First Lady Barbara Bush passed away but a full day earlier an article prematurely announcing her death from a website pretending to be CNN managed to rack up a combined 2.3 million likes, shares and comments on Facebook.

A few days ago we were alerted to a new site that had just launched: news7pm.com (archived here), which appears to have been registered on May 11, 2018:

DOMAIN INFORMATION
Domain:news7pm.com
Registrar:Wild West Domains, LLC
Registration Date:2018-05-11
Expiration Date:2019-05-11
Updated Date:2018-05-11

It is using the same Google Analytics and Adsense code as the "breaking-cnn.com" website that was part of the Ghanese fake news network which ran the huge Barbara Bush death hoax a day before she actually passed away:

Fake News: Former First Lady Barbara Bush Did NOT Die At 92 (UPDATE: She Did Now) | Lead Stories

STORY UPDATED: check for updates below. UPDATE: Barbara Bush did now pass away on April 17, 2018 as reported by the NY Times: As the wife of the 41st president and the mother of the 43rd, George W. Bush, Mrs.

Screenshot of https://leadstories.com/ghanatroll.png

So far it looks like the site is publishing mostly made up stories about Ghanese entertainers and none of them have gone viral enough to warrant debunking by Lead Stories. But we did notice one interesting detail in the footer of the site:

ghanasatire.png

Compare that to the footer of Daily World Update, a site by Christopher Blair, AKA Busta Troll (you can read a lot more about him here):

dailyworldsatire.png

The new site also comes with a "Disclaimer & Who We Are" page:

Since News at 7pm is still accessible before and after 7pm, you should know this website shouldn't be your source of reliable news. This is a satirical website.

Before you complain and decide satire is synonymous with "comedy":

sat·ire
ˈsaˌtī(ə)r
noun
The use of humor, irony, exaggeration, or ridicule to expose and criticize people's stupidity or vices, particularly in the context of contemporary politics and other topical issues.

Everything on this website is fiction. It is not a lie and it is not fake news because it is not real. If you believe that it is real, you should have your head examined. Any similarities between this site's pure fantasy and actual people, places and events are purely coincidental and all images should be considered altered and satirical. See above if you're still having an issue with that satire thing.

That looks an awful lot like the "About" page on Daily World Update too:

America's Last Line of Defense is a whimsical playland of conservative satire.

Before you complain and decide satire is synonymous with "comedy":

sat·ire

ˈsaˌtī(ə)r
noun
The use of humor, irony, exaggeration, or ridicule to expose and criticize people's stupidity or vices, particularly in the context of contemporary politics and other topical issues.

Everything on this website is fiction. It is not a lie and it is not fake news because it is not real. If you believe that it is real, you should have your head examined. Any similarities between this site's pure fantasy and actual people, places and events are purely coincidental and all images should be considered altered and satirical. See above if you're still having an issue with that satire thing.

A source within Blair's organisation confirmed to us they had nothing to do with the new site and they were just as surprised to find their footer and about page copied. The source stated to us: "fuck them" and "feel free to quote me on that".

And there you have it: Busta Troll seems to have fans in Africa... The world of fake news never ceases to amaze, does it?

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

About Lead Stories

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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