According to a post that is currently circulating via social media, a zookeeper at Naples Zoo was killed while attempting to rape an alligator.
Clicking the post opens a longer article about the supposed attack that is presented as a news report. The report notes:
According to Captain Henri White, spokesman of the Naples Police Department, 24-year old Jimmy Olsen was engaged in full sexual intercourse with one of the younger reptiles, when he was surprised by one of the larger animals which attacked from behind.
But, thankfully, the story is nothing more than a poor taste work of fiction that originates from the notorious fake-news website World News Daily Report (WNDR). The site includes the following disclaimer buried under its “About Us” menu:
WNDR assumes however all responsibility for the satirical nature of its articles and for the fictional nature of their content. All characters appearing in the articles in this website – even those based on real people – are entirely fictional and any resemblance between them and any persons, living, dead, or undead is purely a miracle.
However, many visitors will never see this disclaimer and will thus believe that the site’s fictional reports are genuine news.
You might think that this story is just a harmless joke, albeit a rather tasteless one. But, if you were the person whose photograph was used in the fake post, you might not see the funny side. The image shows a young zoo worker who works with crocodiles at a Spanish zoo. His photograph was stolen from 2013 news reports and used in the fictional rape story.
Fake stories like this can unfairly damage the reputation of innocent people. WNDR’s usage of such stolen images of real people in their fake reports is both irresponsible and immoral.
And, the fake story can’t even get the species of the pictured reptile correct. The animal in the photograph is a crocodile, not an alligator.
Since WNDR first published the bogus alligator rape story back in 2016, various other dubious fake-news and click-bait websites have republished it. It thus continues to circulate. Readers see the post on their social media feeds and then share the material with their friends without first verifying it.
Given how many nonsensical fake-news stories that are traversing the Internet at any one time, it is always wise to verify any strange or unusual story that comes your way before you share it. Usually, a quick search on a news aggregator such as Google News will reveal if a circulating story is true.