Fake News: Wave of Fake Shark, Crocodile, Alligator and Giant Halibut Sightings

Fact Check

  • by: Maarten Schenk

It must be something in the water we think but our trend spotting engine Trendolizer has flagged up several water-related hoaxes and pranks this morning:

If you are suspecting some of these might be tall fisherman's tales, you are right. Channel23news is a prank website which is part of a network of similar 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.

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Here are some other sites in the network:

  • channel22news.com
  • channel24news.com
  • channel28news.com
  • channel45news.com

The fact that all these stories are so similar is definitely fishy. We suspect they weren't just written by someone trying to prank friends and family but rather by someone trying to attract (gullible) visitors to their site by reeling them in with similar stories baited with some local details so people would swallow them hook, line and sinker.

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As Bubbly our fact-checking fish (pictured) would say: don't get caught!


  Maarten Schenk

Lead Stories co-founder 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 is a U.S. based fact checking website that is always looking for the latest false, misleading, deceptive or inaccurate stories, videos or images going viral on the internet.
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