VERA FILES FACT CHECK: Reports about 'child-beating' woman shot dead FAKE NEWS

The same week a woman who allegedly beat up her partner's child made news, several websites published a fabricated story insinuating the woman had been shot dead.

Over 43,000 people may have shared the fake, undated story, published by at least two websites - napankamkumametbeewan.info and nagbabagangbalita.info. It carried the headline, "BREAKING: Babaeng NAMBUGBOG sa ANAK ng kanyang Kinakasama, PATAY sa Pamamaril sa Tondo, Maynila (Breaking: Woman who beat up her partner's child, shot dead in Tondo, Manila)."

The story featured as its content a report by GMA News’ Unang Balita. It stops playing after about three seconds, then a fake Facebook "security check" pops up.

When opened on Youtube, the Unang Balita report is actually a legitimate video uploaded on GMA News's official channel more than a year ago -- May 5, 2017.

The fake story was detected by Facebook circulating in news feeds less than a week after reports surfaced about a certain Berna Espina having beaten up her partner's three-year-old child. Thumbnails of the fake story being shared on social media also used misleadingly photos of Espina and the child.

The modus of the stopping video is one that has been observed in several other hoaxes - often about supposed deaths, rape or sex scandals. Vera Files has fact checked a number over the past months. (See: VERA FILES FACT CHECK: The scheme behind scams: Why death hoaxes don’t die)

According to Flemish application developer Maarten Schenck, such kinds of hoaxes that have an emotional pull are created by websites with the intent to easily generate money, apparent in the number of ads present in the site.

True enough, the fake story about the "child-beater" shot dead contains at least 19 advertisements, taking up more space that the story's actual content.

Napankamkumametbeewan.info was created Aug. 9; nagbabagangbalita.info on Aug. 13


(Editor's Note: VERA Files has partnered with Facebook to fight the spread of disinformation. Find out more about this partnership and our methodology.)

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