RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — A Facebook page calling itself North Carolina Breaking News is under fire for spreading “fake news.”
Several posts on the page are inaccurate and translated from Russian.
The page had more than 50,000 followers, but if you looked closely at the page you’ll notice that North Carolina Breaking News doesn’t identify as news at all.
“Satire is another type of fake news,” said North Carolina State University associate professor Nicole Lee. “Sometimes it is for the purpose of comedy, but other times it just to cause some sort of mayhem.”
If you look at the site you’ll see articles shared from reputable sites like CBS17.com, and for hire flyers from a place posing as the Cumberland County Sheriff’s Office.
“Mimicking local news sites was one of the techniques that the internet research agency used in the 2016 campaign to spread disinformation,” said UNC associate professor Ryan Thornburg.
Multiple agencies have confirmed they believe the site is run by bots in a foreign country, and many posts are translated from Russian, but it’s unclear who’s on the other side of the keyboard.
“There’s no contact information, so it’s very difficult to find out who is behind a page like that,” said Thornburg.”
“There are people internationally, and here in the U.S., that create misinformation for a variety of reasons,” said Hall.
Facebook removed the page after it was flagged multiple times for violation of their spam policies.
“We will see more of these before we see fewer of them especially as the 2020 elections get near,” said Thornburg.
That’s why professors at UNC and N.C. State are asking you to slow down as you read info online, check the source and attribution, and find out where the organization is connected in order to verify the information is correct.
“It never hurts to flag something because the spread of fake news can be very problematic because it’s very hard to undo people’s beliefs,” said Hall.
For more information on Facebook’s spam policy click here.