Fake news site captures Macon's attention | News
A hoax news story apparently fooled a lot of people in Macon and on social media.
It says police shot an unarmed black woman to death at the Walmart on Gray Highway in front of her three-year-old.
It describes the shooting and even names the woman.
Many of you called in the news and posted on our Facebook page, asking about the story.
But the article is completely false and an example of satire gone wrong, says Jay Black, a journalism and media studies professor at Mercer.
"It's very distasteful. It's not a hoax, it's not satire, it's just a lie to drive people to a website. It's a lie to drive people to increase how much money they make on their site, and that's deplorable," Black said.
Scroll down to the bottom of the article and you'll see a small disclaimer: "Please note that articles written on this site are for entertainment and satirical purposes only."
Black says many people may not read that far and quickly jump to share information, without realizing it may be false.
On Twitter, many people posted about the shooting.
One Tweet reads, "An unarmed black lady was shot and killed in a Macon Walmart. Lord, it's home now."
Black says the website played off of the unrest in places like Ferguson, Missouri, where a young black teenager was shot and killed by police a few weeks ago.
"It tied into an already established idea of young black people getting shot for minor crimes. There is no joke to that, there's no humor to that, there's no satire to that," he said.
He says though the digital age has made sharing information as easy as clicking a button, we should all do so with a wary eye.
-Do some investigating. Find out who your source is.
-Only rely on trusted, well-established publications
-Don't jump to share information on social media unless you know it's true
Since we first started reporting on this story yesterday, the website changed the location of the shooting from "Macon" to "Johnson, Georgia."
Of course, there's no such city in Georgia.
The Bibb Sheriff's Office says it's hard to hold someone accountable for fake stories like this, especially when these sites have no contact information and no clear authors.
We tried to contact the domain owner, but it remains anonymous.