The Macomb County Sheriff's Office has declared "FAKE NEWS" after an article began to spread on social media claiming that a "vigilante serial killer" was on the loose in the community and had murdered three pedophiles in one week.
The article falsely claims:
Law enforcement officials in Michigan’s Macomb County have held a press conference to announce they believe a vigilante targeting pedophiles is on the loose, with reports that three local offenders have been found dead over the past week.
The Macomb County Sheriff's Office responded Monday morning on Facebook, confirming that the article was, indeed, fake news.
The article includes several sensational details about the made-up incident. It claims that three men on the Michigan Sex Offender Registry have been found dead over the past week, and that one victim's genitals had been removed and placed into a blender.
There have been no official reports of sex offenders being targeted and killed in Macomb County over the past week.
Here is a link to the article in question.
The article may appear convincing. It was posted on a website calling itself nbc9news.com, which may lead some to believe it to be affiliated with the television broadcast network NBC.
There are several NBC affiliates throughout the country that broadcast on a virtual channel 9, but none of them appear to be associated with nbc9news.com.
The homepage of nbc9news.com displays several articles that are actually not fake news, such as a story about a Brooklyn mother who sued a bus company after her daughter was dropped off at the wrong stop. This story was originally reported by the New York Post in June, and nbc9news.com's report appears to be factual, citing the Post as a source.
In 2016, FactCheck.org posted a guide on how to spot fake news.
If something looks like it may be false, readers are advised to consider the source of what they are reading. The article on nbc9news.com about the Brooklyn mother cited the New York Post as a source, and a visit to the Post's original article proved it to be factual.
However, the article about the made-up vigilante cited the Macomb County Sheriff's Office as a source, but a visit to the MCSO's Facebook page revealed the story to be false.