Truth or Fiction: More and More Online Stories are a Hoax - Los Angeles News | FOX 11 LA KTTV

By: Meteorologist/Web Producer Pablo Pereira

Truth or Fiction: More and More Online Stories are a Hoax

Posted: Updated:
Screenshot/Lightly Braised Turnip Screenshot/Lightly Braised Turnip
earthcam.com 1/9/14 earthcam.com 1/9/14
Twiiter @PabloWeather Twiiter @PabloWeather

Did you hear about it. See it online this week?  A second Giant Sea Creature Washes Ashore Along Santa Monica Coastline! First it was the Giant Oarfish off Catalina. Now it's a Giant Squid, 160 feet from the head to tentacle tip according to the website, The Lightly Braised Turnip.

It quotes Santa Monica Parks Manager Cynthia Beard as saying that scientists planned to move the massive sea creature to the Scripps Research Institute to study it.

Here is the Problem. The institute is real, Beard is not. Turns out The Lightly Braised Turnip, is noting more than a satire website and was quickly fished out by the Epoch Times Website and other websites.

The Squid in the Photo? It's Photoshopped into the picture. Measuring 30 feet long, the squid was actually found on the shore in Spain in October of last year. (SEE VIDEO ABOVE)

This is a good example of the rash of satire articles or fake news articles that are becoming more popular on the web and social media, fooling some into thinking it's a real news story.

Not Sure about a story? Google it! Or try a website like http://www.snopes.com/ to verify.
[http://www.snopes.com/politics/satire/giantsquid.asp]

We posted the story on our Facebook page. Many of you commented on the story. Many not too happy in feeling duped.

Turns out many didn't even bother to read the entire post.  We clearly stated that the picture and story was a hoax.  But if you didn't bother to read the entire story you wouldn't have known this.

The internet and social media like Facebook and Twitter is littered with stories, articles, tweets and post about so-called factual stories. Often the stories are simply retweeted or reposted without any thought or investigation if the story was real or not.

I even tweeted out the same story on my twitter account, @PabloWeather. But I included the hashtag '#Hoax' at the end. Some still didn't bother to read the fine print.

Clearly in this world of new citizen Journalist, it is not good practice to believe everything you read.  Verify, Verify, Verify is the answer. In fact, many Twitter accounts that appear to be Government run like a Police or Fire Department are often fake unless verified by Twitter.

Quite frankly, I see too many young journalist coming out of Top 'J' schools who use Social Media as the only tool to source stories. Lesson? Always look for a second source. Back in the day, we worked the phones. So make a call and get someone in the know to verify what you read is true.

So moving forward, hope you learned something. We did tonight too. Got pictures of a frozen Niagara Falls for the recent cold snap (Polar Vortex? Don't get me started) back east. The pictures came right from one of our inside sources.

But a second look found the pictures to be fakes. Niagara Falls had not frozen over! http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/style-blog/wp/2014/01/09/no-niagara-falls-is-not-frozen-solid/

While the falls do have ice on them, they are not currently frozen! Picture to the left shows what it looked like as of earlier Thursday.

Still feeling duped?  You're not alone. It's something we in the TV News business have to deal with each and everyday.

If you would like to come on over to our Facebook page, MY FOX LOS ANGELES and comment on this story - CLICK HERE

BTW: The largest species of squid known to mankind get to be only about 45 feet in length.  [SOURCE: Ocean.si.edu & Sciencedaily.com]

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