An internet news story from a fake news site went viral Monday night. The story appeared to have been published by Fox News 15 which isn’t a real news organization.
Their story was titled, “Smithfield, NC: Butcher charged with putting cheating wife in meat grinder and feeding remains to their cat”
The story even included a real Smithfield crime scene photo but from a unrelated crime.
According to Hoax-Alert.com the Fox 15 website was only registered recently and has no connection to the real Fox News. The site is part of a larger network of fake news sites that appears to look like a real news website. Their goal is to encourage people to share the fake news stories in hopes of getting people to click on advertisements on the page and generate revenue.
“Unfortunately it is a sad situation that someone feels the need to spread false information of this type,” Smithfield Police Chief Keith Powell told WTSB News on Tuesday. “The agency strives to work hard to maintain a safe environment for the citizens and visitors of this town. I have no idea why someone would chose Smithfield, NC for this type of vicious rumor. I can only say that nothing like this has occurred in Smithfield.”
Many of the fake news stories are based in small towns – like Smithfield, NC – and often use photos they find on the internet showing a local police car or a sign with the town’s name. In this case, Hoax-Alert.com said the crime scene photo was actually from a 2013 shooting in Smithfield.