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Hoax Alert

Fake News: EU Did NOT Changes Its Name To Association of Regional States of Europe, NOT Making 2016 referendum VOID

  • by: Maarten Schenk
  • (Mon, 06 Aug 2018 16:17:23 Z)

Did the European Union rename itself to "Association of Regional States of Europe" in order to invalidate the Brexit referendum? No, that's not true: the "news" was invented by a satirical website. It is not real.

The story originated from an article published on August 6, 2018 titled "EU changes its name to Association of Regional States of Europe, making 2016 referendum VOID" (archived here) which opened:

In a dramatic. last gasp attempt to stop the United Kingdom from leaving the European Union, a Brussels supremo has confirmed that the bloc is about to change its name from the 'European Union' to the 'Association of Regional States of Europe.'

According to legal experts, this will stop the United Kingdom withdrawing from the European Union as it will technically no longer exist.

Dr Bernard Gurnard told our news desk that this could be 'air tight' as there was no mention of the new name on the June 2016 ballot paper.

Screenshot of http://southendnewsnetwork.net/news/eu-changes-its-name-to-association-of-regional-states-of-europe-making-2016-referendum-void/

Users on social media only saw this title, description and thumbnail:

EU changes its name to Association of Regional States of Europe, making 2016 referendum VOID

In a dramatic. last gasp attempt to stop the United Kingdom from leaving the European Union, a Brussels supremo has confirmed that the bloc is about to change its name from the 'European Union' to the 'Association of Regional States of Europe.' According to legal experts, this will stop the United Kingdom withdrawing from the ...

But we found no online trace of this "Dr Bernard Gurnard" anywhere online, which makes sense since The Southend News Network is a satirical site pretending to be a news organisation by the English coast in Southend. They have a disclaimer on their about page that reads (in part):

Southend News Network was originally started in October 2015 with no real aims or objectives in mind other than to add a satirical/spoof-like touch to issues that people are passionate about in Southend On Sea. Above all else, SNN is all about having the occasional 'dig' at the powers that be, as well a slightly bigger and more frequent 'dig' at certain elements of local media!

Several of their stories have been mistaken for real news in the past and the site was recognized by the local authorities as an "official news outlet".

We wrote about southendnewsnetwork.net before, here are our most recent articles that mention the site:

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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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