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

Fake News: George R.R. Martin NOT Dead After Massive Heart Attack

  • by: Maarten Schenk
  • (Thu, 07 Jun 2018 13:38:13 Z)

Did George R.R. Martin, writer of Game of Thrones, die of a massive heart attack? No, that's not true: someone posted a fake death notice to a prank website, in reality the author is fine. The story is not true.

The hoax originated from an article published on prank website Channel22News titled "George R.R. Martin Dead After Massive Heart Attack" (archived here) which opened:

The writer of the popular Rings of Fire books passed away after suffering a massive heart attack at his home. This means Game of Thrones is cancellled.

Screenshot of https://channel22news.com/george-r-r-martin-dead-after-massive-heart-attack/

The hoax even managed to get the name of Martin's most popular series of books wrong, it is "A Song of Ice and Fire", not "Rings of Fire".

The site is part of a network of prank sites operated by Korry Scherer from Milwaukee, WI. according to WHOIS data. The site lets visitors create their own realistic looking fake news stories to prank friends and family.

pranked.jpg

The site seems to be part of a network of similar sites. So far we've found these, but there may be others:

  • channel22news.com
  • channel23news.com
  • channel24news.com
  • channel28news.com
  • channel33news.com
  • channel34news.com
  • channel40news.com
  • channel45news.com
  • channel46news.com

The sites all come with disclaimers at the bottom of each prank:

We do NOT support FAKE NEWS!!! This is a Prank website that is intended for Fun. Bullying, Violent Threats or posts that Violate Public Order are NOT permitted on this Website.

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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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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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