Local officials were forced to deny a fake news story that claimed two black teens were murdered by white supremacists at a July 4th festival in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina after the post went viral on Facebook.
The article, posted by the ‘NewsWatch 33‘ website, reported that three black teens were brutally attacked by a group of “white guys” after they protested against the Confederate flag. The black teens were subjected to racial slurs before being attacked with bats, the site claimed. Two of the victims were pronounced dead at the scene while another was in critical condition. Police subsequently labeled the massacre a “hate crime”.
However, the incident never occurred. As ABC 15 reports, “There was no hate crime attack in Myrtle Beach over the July 4th holiday weekend.”
“There’s no reason for that (story) to exist, it’s false, it’s made up. I can’t explain that,” said city spokesman Mark Kruea. After receiving numerous calls about the story, Myrtle Beach police also sent out a post on Facebook and Twitter asserting that the incident did not happen.
Kruea pleaded with other media outlets to report the hoax and “expose this darkness from wherever it came.”
The fake story was shared an incredible 21,000 times on Facebook despite being completely bogus.
Numerous respondents to the article were also fooled by the post, apparently oblivious to the content of the rest of the website, which includes stories entitled ‘Obama Expected To Sign Executive Order Entitling African-Americans To Reparations’ and ‘Woman Stabbed Husband Over Him Ignoring Candy Crush Life Requests’.
“I’m at a loss for words. America is heading towards an all out racial war,” remarked Steve Spencer.
“I am praying for the families of these courageous teens,” said Shirley Venton.
The incident highlights the danger of fake news websites which post incredibly irresponsible content, misleading thousands of people in the process.
Earlier this year, Facebook announced that it was cracking down on fake news websites by filtering out bogus stories, but on this evidence, the problem seems to be only getting worse.