Fake News: Andorra Did NOT Close Border With Catalonia

Hoax Alert

  • by: Maarten Schenk
Fake News: Andorra Did NOT Close Border With Catalonia

A prank website named 12minutos.com posted a hoax article titled "Andorra decide cerrar su frontera con Cataluña" (translation: "Andorra decides to close border with Catalonia"). The full text of the prank, in Spanish, reads:

Ante la situación política catalana, Andorra ha decidido unilateralmente cerrar su frontera con Cataluña. Esta situación obligará a las personas que quieran entrar o salir del país en las próximas fechas a hacerlo por la frontera francesa y dar un importante rodeo para llegar o regresar desde España. Esta medida que entrara en vigor de forma inmediata ha causado estupor y polémica en la comunidad de españoles que actualmente están de visita en el país de los pirineos.

A Google translated version of that reads as follows:

Faced with the Catalan political situation, Andorra has unilaterally decided to close its border with Catalonia. This situation will force people who want to enter or leave the country in the coming dates to do so along the French border and take an important detour to arrive or return from Spain. This measure that came into force immediately has caused stupor and controversy in the community of Spaniards who are currently visiting the country of the Pyrenees.

catalonia.jpg

The article is completely made up, although the current terrorism situation in Catalonia after the Barcelona terror attacks has obviously made people more nervous and inclined to believe fake articles like this one. Even if it were true, "stupor and controversy" would be unlikely: Andorra is tiny (really, really tiny, as in you can cross the entire country on foot in a few hours) so needing to take a detour via the French border to get back into Spain would take very little time anyway.

The main reason why the article is fake is that 12minutos.com is a prank website allowing visitors to create their own news articles. It carries following disclaimer at the bottom:

Este es un sitio de entretenimiento, las noticias son creadas por los usuarios. Estás son noticias humorísticas, de fantasía, ficticias, que no deben ser tomadas en serio o servir como fuente de información.

Translation:

This is an entertainment site, news is created by users. These are humorous, fantasy, fictional news that should not be taken seriously or served as a source of information.

The site is part of a larger network of prank sites run by a Belgian company. Sites in the network include:

  • www.12minutos.com
  • www.24aktuelles.com
  • www.actualites.co
  • www.actualitesdujour.fr
  • www.breakingnews365.net
  • www.cnoticias.net
  • www.en-bref.fr
  • www.nachrichten.de.com
  • www.nachrichten247.de
  • www.nachrichten365.com
  • www.net-infosnews.com
  • www.noticias-frescas.com
  • www.notizzia.com
  • www.react365.com

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  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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