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Why people keep sharing fake news stories thinking they are true

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

Thousands of people have been expressing outrage over news that Facebook may soon charge a membership fee.

Only problem: It's all fake, and is part of a growing number of phony news reports.

The headline went viral hours after its posting, and no wonder. It says "Facebook to begin charging users $2.99 a month starting November 1st."

Normally, most people would ignore posts like this on social media.

But this one was different: It links to a full news story on "The National Report,"   complete with quotes from Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg about the fee.

People across the country posted the news report on their Facebook feeds, and thousands more complained to Facebook, all over a news report that was a complete hoax.

The quotes attributed to Zuckerberg? All made up.

And from the "Doesn't That Stink" file, the growing number of fake news reports online.


The National Report is among a number of satirical news sites.


Many, like The Onion, are clear that their reports are satire. But the National Report is much less clear, and many of its stories tend not to be very funny.("Terrorists using Ebola" is hardly a knee slapping satirical story.)


Believe one and share it and you may say "Doesn't That Stink?"


My advice: If someone tells you something significant is happening, look it up before sharing or retweeting it.


Fake news sites should also be clear that their reports are phony.

That way you don't end up looking like a fool, and you don't waste your money.

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  • Captain O.B. Vious

    How do we know that this story is true?
    There is still a large percentage of people that believe it “it” is on the internet it must be true. Thanks Al Gore!

  • Paul Horner

    Thanks for your LIVE broadcast about my story I wrote about Facebook charging a monthly fee. Though, I’m confused by how much you claim that my story gives “NO HINT THAT IT’S SATIRE”. REALLY? Did you even read past the first couple paragraphs of the article? Here’s copy/pasta directly from my story. You must have missed this part:

    In an interview with CNN, Facebook spokesman Paul Horner explained the reason for the new monthly fee.

    “Economic times are tight, the ads on Facebook are not as profitable as we had planned. Our costs are going up as hundreds of thousands of individuals continue to join the site every day,” Horner said. “There’s so many pictures of cats, and all of those costs add up, we just can’t foot the bill any longer.”

    Jack Phillips from Dequincy, Louisiana told reporters that he is not happy with Facebook’s decision to implement a new monthly fee.

    “I can barely pay for my girly subscriptions as it is, now this Zuckerberg character wants another $3 a month out of me? Well I don’t think so bud,” Phillips said. “There’s free news out there that I get all my learning from, like The Epoch Times. I know their stories are not real, some fancy word called ‘satirical’, but they makes me laugh. Sure, their grammar and spelling is just God-awful, but I like that; it makes me feel smarter.” Phillips continued, “As for this monthly fee though, I do like using Facebook. That Farmville game on there cracks me up. Hey, look at me, I’m planting some carrots in a field around my kick *ss barn. My friends just love it when I contact them about planting my crops. They’re like, ‘Dangit Jack, you and your gosh dang crops’, I’ll tell you what.”

    Fappy The Anti-Masturbation Dolphin, a mascot for a Christian anti-masturbation group, says their business could not survive without Facebook.

    “Charging people to use Facebook means there won’t be as many heathens on the site to help stay off the Devil’s playground. Personally, I like Facebook because it helps me promote my side business of making personalized video greetings. Those videos are good, clean fun for the whole family, and they also help pay for my anger management and sex offender classes. Praise Fappy!”

    Horner told reporters of an option for those who can’t afford the new monthly fee. “Here at Facebook we value each and every one of our members. We do not want to see anyone delete their account just because they cannot afford the monthly fee,” Horner said. “For those who can’t manage the cost, we’ve made it real simple. In a new status update, copy and paste the words, ‘I AM POOR FACEBOOK PLEASE WAIVE MY MONTHLY FEE’. Make sure you include the hashtag ‪#‎FacebookMonthlyFee‬. This will inform the Facebook billing department to waive any fees associated with your account. Unfortunately for free users, access to all Facebook games will no longer be available.” Horner continued, “There’s also a free option which will allow you access to your Facebook account for up to one hour a week, exceeding that will cost $0.49/minute. I think you can agree that it is extremely important to find the right Facebook plan for you!”

    Shares of Facebook closed Monday at 76.80, up 1.11 (1.42%). To order your monthly subscription please call the 24-hour Facebook hotline at (785) 273-0325. Discounts are available to those who pay for an entire year at once.

    FYI The phone number is the Westboro Baptist Church

    Fun Fact: I have a theory that most people only read the title and the first few paragraphs of an article. Fox News, thanks for proving my theory!

    • Gern Blansten

      Well, it’s a deceptive practice which relies on people mistaking it for a real news story and clicking on it. It’s the clicking that brings in the money, not reading complete articles. Your whole argument has no logical basis for it, it is a deceptive business practice.

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