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

Fake News: President Trump Did NOT Sign Executive Order Banning All Assault Rifles Nationwide

  • by: Maarten Schenk
  • (Sat, 21 Sep 2019 20:58:53 Z)

Did President Trump just sign an executive order banning all assault rifles nationwide? No, that's not true: the "news" may have caused joy or dismay depending on which side of the debate you are on but it was totally made up by a prankster who launched the rumor through prank website LA TLMES (a name that looks a lot like the LA Times if you use a lowercase font).

The story originated from an article published by an anonymous prankster on September 21, 2019 titled "President Trump Signs Executive Order Banning All Assault Rifles Nationwide" (archived here). People who clicked the link were greeted by a video of Rick Astley singing his hit song "Never Gonna Give You Up".

Screenshot of https://www.latlmes.com/breaking/president-trump-signs-executive-order-banning-all-assault-rifles-nationwide-1

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

President Trump Signs Executive Order Banning All Assault Rifles Nationwide

This is what the site looked like when the article was clicked:

rickroll.jpg

Here is the Wikipedia definition of Rick Rolling, in case you haven't been on the internet for very long:

Rickrolling

Rickrolling, alternatively rick-rolling, is a prank and an Internet meme involving an unexpected appearance of the music video for the 1987 Rick Astley song " Never Gonna Give You Up". The meme is a type of bait and switch using a disguised hyperlink that leads to the music video.

The website www.latlmes.com (not www.latimes.com, notice the lower-case letter "L" instead of the "i") is a prank website where anyone can upload a headline and pick a video to go with it in order to fool friends online. It appears to be the work of @realjeffkeen.

And yes, we checked, there really isn't an executive order banning assault rifles, at least not at the time this article was published. You can see all Presidential Executive Orders here for yourself at the Federal Register.

We wrote about latlmes.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

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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