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Hoax Alert

Fake News: British Girl NOT Refused Entry To The UK After Holiday As Passport Photo Has Dog Ears

  • by: Maarten Schenk
  • (Tue, 21 Aug 2018 21:11:25 Z)

Was 25-year-old Michelle Garridge from Leigh-on-Sea in Essex refused re-entry into the United Kingdom because her passport photo had dog ears on it from an Instagram filter? No, that's not true: the entire story was made up by a satirical website. It is not real.

The story originated from an article published by the Southend News Network on August 21, 2018 titled "British girl refused entry to the UK after holiday as passport photo has dog ears" (archived here) which opened:

A 25-year-old girl from Leigh-on-Sea in Essex has been refused entry to the United Kingdom after a holiday to Greece because her passport photo has dog ears on it from a Snapchat filter.

Michelle Garridge is currently being held in detention at Gatwick Airport while the matter is resolved - she has already spent three days away from the rest of her family while the Home Office determines whether or not she should be allowed to return.

Screenshot of https://southendnewsnetwork.net/news/british-girl-refused-entry-to-the-uk-after-holiday-as-passport-photo-has-dog-ears/

Users on social media only saw this title, description and thumbnail and some of them must have thought it was a real news article because it went massively viral:

British girl refused entry to the UK after holiday as passport photo has dog ears

A 25-year-old girl from Leigh-on-Sea in Essex has been refused entry to the United Kingdom after a holiday to Greece because her passport photo has dog ears on it from a Snapchat filter. Michelle Garridge is currently being held in detention at Gatwick Airport while the matter is resolved - she has already spent three ...

But 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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