June 26, 2015 12:00 pm
Updated: June 26, 2015 12:07 pm

Women who say ‘oh God’ during sex should be jailed, and other fake things online this week

This drone strike was fake, along with a bunch of other things this week.

Screenshot, LiveLeak
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Working in the online world can be a bit of a minefield — the web is full of fakes, frauds and hoaxes. Sorting through them all can be equally frustrating and entertaining. Global News spends a lot of time verifying online material, as do sites like Storyful (some even read through reams of documents, like the Verification Handbook, explaining how). What better thing to write a weekly column about?

Here’s this week’s edition of real and fake stuff on the web (and here’s even more fake stuff from the past month).

Fake Walmart assault

A Texas woman made a shocking post on Facebook this week, saying she was attacked by three men at a Walmart.

But there was one glaring problem with the post…

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Her “black eyes” were obviously makeup.

Social media users were not pleased, especially that she had blamed the attack on three black men.

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“It is completely false and there has been nothing like this reported,” said Texarkana, Texas, police chief Dan Shiner. He also told Global News that the local public information officer Shawn Vaughn had made a Facebook statement about the allegations.

But the statement was nowhere to be found on the police Facebook page. “I posted on Monday morning after learning about her post that was going around. However, I decided to delete it after a short time upon learning that Ms. Martin may suffer from mental illness,” Vaughn confirmed.

“We did not want to contribute to her difficult situation and chose to instead focus on working to help get her the professional assistance that she needed.”

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‘Genius Girl’ outed

A 17-year-old high school student in Alexandria, Virginia, seemingly had it all: acceptance letters from both Harvard and Stanford, and massive scholarships to both. The math whiz Jung Yoon Kim told her fellow students that the two schools were so desperate to have her that they agreed to allow her to attend each school for two years.

The story picked up steam, and she was interviewed by the press, giving details like how Mark Zuckerberg called her personally to encourage her to choose his alma mater, Harvard.

Here is her Harvard acceptance, from Yonhap news.

Harvard-letter

 

And her Stanford acceptance:

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The tall tale came crashing down when both schools issued denials.

“We have no joint program with Harvard that would allow a student to attend both universities as an undergraduate,” Stanford’s VP of communications Lisa Lapin told Global News in an email.

“I can say that admissions letters provided to the media regarding Sara Kim were not authentic and not issued by Stanford.”

Harvard spokesperson Anna Cowenhoven also said a joint program did not exist. Of the purported acceptance letters, she told Global News: “None of these communications were sent by Harvard, and we can confirm that they are all forgeries.”

The student’s father, Kim Jung-wook, apologized publicly according to South Korean news agency Yonhap.

“The actions of ‘Sara’ are very unfortunate and are not representative of the student body at Thomas Jefferson (also known as TJ), and they are also not representative of the Korean heritage community,” the school’s principal Evan M. Glazer told Global News in an email.

“Teens also struggle with the realization they have limitations when comparing themselves to their peers. However, stress levels and expectations can become much more manageable when adults and children openly communicate about challenges that impact their mental health.”

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Fake drone strike

A video of a drone striking the wing of a Southwest Airlines plane as it took off from Laguardia airport made the rounds this week.

Social media reacted:

A closer look at the video shows the wing says branit.com.

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The site is a portfolio site run by Bruce Branit, a visual effects designer.

Here’s another piece by Branit:

Branit did not respond to a request for comment from Global News, but The Next Web reported that Branit said he posted the video to his company YouTube page and someone else posted it to LiveLeak.

The Federal Aviation Authority caught wind of the video and released a statement saying it was fake, which Branit confirmed on Twitter.

Strike-fake

‘Prosecuting women who say God’s name during intercourse’

It all started, as it often does, with a fake news site:

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The site quoted John Hagee, a pastor at the Cornerstone Church in San Antonio, Texas, as saying:

If you’re asking about my personal opinion, there is no greater sin in terms of wrongly using God’s name than women who use it during sex. That is one of the filthiest, most derogatory and sinful uses of the Lord’s name I can think of. If it were up to me, I would put every single woman or girl who does that in jail. That would be a fine example of God’s wrath aimed at what is, in my opinion, a terrible misuse of our Maker’s good name.”

The ABC show The View saw the story and discussed it on-air as if it was real.

The next day host Whoopi Goldberg apologized. “It turns out it was a fake story from a humour website, we apologize to the pastor, we’re sorry.”

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