Irony, thy name is TechCrunch; the technology news outlet fell for a fake news story Thursday about how Facebook was flagging fake news stories.
“Facebook quietly tests warnings on fake news,” reported the site, writing that, “Facebook is showing red warning labels above fake news links in the News Feed for some users in what appears to be a limited test.”
The story was based off a screenshot from an unnamed source that indeed appeared to a show a “fake news” warning. “The warning read,s ‘This website is not a reliable news source. Reason: Classification Pending.’ In some cases, ‘State-Sponsored News’ appears as a reason,” wrote TechCrunch.
That prompted reports from other respected news outlets: “Facebook tests warning labels on fake news, report says,” wrote USA Today. The story got even wider attention when it got the coveted Drudge Report link.
But alas, it wasn’t true. The screenshot was real enough, but the warning is from a Google Chrome attachment called B.S. Detector that anyone can download. Facebook has nothing to do with it.
The TechCrunch story now has an above-the-fold correction. “We’ll continue to investigate but for now it looks like this is not a Facebook feature. Yes, the irony is rich,” they admitted.
[Image via screengrab]