An old story revived recently by amredeemed.com which claims that the Catholic Church had said…
Double-check the web address of the next story you encounter online. You might end up getting pranked.
A story about a supposed nationwide ban on the multiplayer online game Defense of the Ancients (DotA) is one such report, created through a prank generator called The Fake News Generator.
Facebook's fact-checking rating system identifies prank generators as "websites that allow users to create their own 'prank' news stories to share on social media sites."
For the story "Dota 2 Banned in Philippines," clicking the link does not even lead to an actual report. Instead, it opens the prank generator itself, which welcomes readers with this statement: "You clicked this fake news story. Now make your own!", alongside a form to create one's own fake news.
The Fake News Generator also provides a list of impostor web addresses or URLs to choose from, to dupe people into thinking the stories come from the major American news outlets, from the Associated Press to The New York Times.
Below are the fake news site choices listed in The Fake News Generator and the corresponding legitimate URLs:
Legitimate web address
Fake News Generator web address
CBS News (American TV network)
The New York Times
NBC News (American TV network)
The Los Angeles Times
Sean Hannity’s website (Fox News Channel host)
The Associated Press
Apart from the dubious URLs, this prank generator makes use of:
- Short headlines (100 characters at most)
- Short descriptions (200 characters maximum)
- An option to add any photo from image hosting service Flickr.
The DotA story swiped a 2010 photo of Malaysian gaming group Nirvana.my uploaded on Flickr and found on the website of Electronic Sports World Cup Malaysia (ESWC Malaysia).
There has been no news report about a nationwide ban on DotA or DotA 2. However, in 2015, Salawag, a barangay in Dasmarinas, Cavite, was reported to have issued a resolution banning the game from computer shops within its jurisdiction.
The prank DotA ban story could have reached over 126,000 people, and its biggest traffic generator is the Filipino online gaming meme page Alamat ng Peenoise.
The Fake News Generator was created March 12.