“News” report circulating via social media claims that Pope Francis has shocked the world by publicly endorsing Donald Trump for US President.
The claims are untrue. There are no credible news articles that support the story. The false report was published via a network of clickbait fake-news websites that churn out an endless stream of driveling nonsense about celebrities, politicians, and the entertainment industry. An almost identical version of the story claims – with equal falsity – that Pope Francis has endorsed Hillary Clinton for President.
Pope Francis Shocks World, Endorses Donald Trump for President, Releases Statement
VATICAN CITY – News outlets around the world are reporting on the news that Pope Francis has made the unprecedented decision to endorse a US presidential candidate. His statement in support of Donald Trump was released from the Vatican this evening:
According to a report that has now been making its way around the interwebs for several months, Pope Francis has shocked the world by publicly endorsing Donald Trump for President of the United States. The report includes what it claims is an official statement from the Pope outlining why he has decided to declare his support for Donald Trump over rival candidate Hillary Clinton.
But, while the story might appear to be genuine news at first glance, it is, in fact, utter nonsense. Pope Francis has not released any such statement nor has he publicly endorsed either candidate. The bogus story comes from a fake-news website called “WTOE 5 News”. The site includes the following statement on its “About Us” page:
WTOE 5 News is a fantasy news website. Most articles on wtoe5news.com are satire or pure fantasy.
And, WTOE 5 News is just one in a network of almost identical clickbait fake-news websites that recycle versions of the same spurious stories over and over again. In fact, “KYPO 6 News”, another site in the same fake news network, has published an almost identical version of the above story that – again falsely – claims that Pope Francis has instead endorsed Hillary Clinton for US President. The two stories are the same except that the names and photographs of the candidates have been swapped and some other minor details have been changed to fit.
Over the last several months, the same fake-news network has churned out a stream of nonsensical reports that falsely claim that various high-profile celebrities are unexpectedly moving to out of the way locations or that long awaited sequels to much-loved movies are about to begin filming.
The false stories are designed simply to trick people into visiting the bogus websites and sharing their fictional material, thereby generating revenue for the site owners.
Given how many fake-news reports circulate online, it is always wise to verify any strange or unusual “news” report that comes your way before you share it.
Last updated: October 14, 2016
First published: October 14, 2016
By Brett M. Christensen
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