A plane crash over Buckinghamshire constitutes a good pretext for successfully spreading fake news about the death of banking magnate Jacob Rothschild. Meanwhile, the death of Charles Manson takes news agencies and fact checking organizations by surprise, claiming he is still alive.
Jacob Rothschild did not die in a plane crash
After news outlets reported an air crash incident involving an airplane and a helicopter just above the Rothschild’s family Buckinhamshire estate, Waddesdon Manor, a couple of conspiracy websites were quick to publish the news of Jacob Rothschild’s death. Although the Rothschild estate is not owned by the banking family since 1957 and no family member resides there, the coincidence was used to spread fake news about the death of Jacob Rothschild, now 81.
The website were the fake news information originated is www.yournewswire.com: Lord Rothschild Feared Dead After Plane Crash In Buckinghamshire (published on Nov 17th 2017). The post managed to gather over 27,000 Facebook engagements so far.
Other websites that copied and reposted the information from yournewswire.com are Neon Nettle (Jacob Rothschild Feared Dead After Helicopter & Plane Crash Into His Estate), https://www.guerrilla.news/2017/11/18/hillary-forgiveness-found-field-today/ and Wuc-News (http://www.wuc-news.com/2017/11/lord-rothschild-feared-dead-after-plane.html). The posts, citing and linking to the original article on yournewswire.com, gathered over 20,000 Facebook engagements.
The article from Wuc-News is even suggested by Facebook as a trusted news when searching for “Rothschild” in the Facebook app:
TrustServista was able to correctly determine the information source (Patient Zero) as the article posted by yournewswire.com and automatically score these fake news articles as having a low to medium Content Quality score:
Murderous cult leader Charles Manson dies at 83
Gathering a lot of attention (more than 50 articles published in the last 15 hours), the death of serial killer Charles Manson left some prestigious news agencies and fact checkers in the dark.
Although a lot of reports of Charles Manson’s deaths were already starting to trend on Facebook, Associated Press, CBS News and fact checking group Snopes were reporting that “Killer Charles Manson Alive as Reports Swirl of Ill Health” (marked with orange as for “fact checkers” in the Article Graph):
The reporting mistake came from Snopes, who was citing an older material from CBS and AP from 3 days ago when Manson was taken ill to a California Hospital. Snopes article now reads “Charles Manson dies”.