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Hoax Alert

Fake News: Texas Man Did NOT Crash After Attempting To Drive Blindfolded Doing 'Bird Box' Challenge

  • by: Maarten Schenk
  • (Fri, 04 Jan 2019 10:13:17 Z)

Did a Texas man named Jacob attempt to drive blindfolded while taking the "Bird Box" challenge and did he get into a four vehicle accident? No, that's not true: the story was made up by a "fauxtire" site that invents fictional articles for entertainment purposes. It is not real.

The story originated from an article published by Huzlers on January 4, 2019 titled "'Bird Box' Challenge: Man Crashes After Attempting To Drive Blindfolded" (archived here) which opened:

AUSTIN, TX - A 20 year old man is being hospitalized in serious condition after being involved in an automobile accident. According to witnesses, the man was driving while blindfolded. Authorities say the man was attempting the "Bird Box challenge", a challenge that consists of attempting every day tasks while blindfolded, in this case driving a car.

Jacob, 20, is currently being hospitalized at Austin state hospital after being involved in a serious 4 vehicle accident. All others involved in the accident walked away with minor cuts and bruises. Jacob was attempting to drive his car down 45th street blindfolded thanks to the latest internet challenge called the "Bird Box challenge". 'Bird Box' is the title of a recently released Netflix horror film in which characters in the movie must be blindfolded to not be "possessed" by the evil spirits, thus the characters had to do everyday activities blindfolded.

Screenshot of http://www.huzlers.com/bird-box-challenge-man-crashes-after-attempting-to-drive-blindfolded/

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

'Bird Box' Challenge: Man Crashes After Attempting To Drive Blindfolded

AUSTIN, TX - A 20 year old man is being hospitalized in serious condition after being involved in an automobile accident. According to witnesses, the man was driving while blindfolded. Authorities say the man was attempting the "Bird Box challenge", a challenge that consists of attempting every day tasks while blindfolded, in this case driving ...

The Bird Box challenge was inspired by the Netflix movie "Bird Box" in which a mother and her two children must complete a dangerous journey while blindfolded:

Bird Box (2018)

Directed by Susanne Bier. With Sandra Bullock, Trevante Rhodes, John Malkovich, Sarah Paulson. Five years after an ominous unseen presence drives most of society to suicide, a mother and her two children make a desperate bid to reach safety.

The movie has inspired people to post images and videos on social media in which they try to complete various activities while wearing a blindfold. This caused Netflix to post message to its official Twitter account asking people to be careful because they didn't want anyone to get hurt:

The car crash story is false though: Huzlers styles itself as a "fauxtire" website and carries a disclaimer at the bottom of each page:

Huzlers.com is the most infamous fauxtire & satire entertainment website in the world. If it's trending on social media you'll find it here!

The image illustrating the story was not even taken in Texas but apparently in Singapore:

Singapore-JB 3-car causeway accident

This really bad accident happened this morning at about 4.00 am just before Woodlands Checkpoint on the way in to Malaysia. No news yet on the condition of the drivers and their passengers. We are still trying to get information on how it happened. Anybody out there can share the information please.

According to Splinter News the site is run by Pablo Reyes and David Martinez and according to Buzzfeed Reyes is involved with several other fake news websites. They tend to shy away from political stories, opting instead to write for a more "urban" audience, with stories about rappers, criminals and celebrities.

We wrote about huzlers.com 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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