​VERA FILES FACT CHECK: Actress Shaina Magdayao IS ALIVE

Filipina actress Shaina Magdayao has fallen victim to another death hoax after a number of impostor websites published videos about her supposed “death due to hypothyroidism.”

At least eight impostor news websites --balitang247.pepetv.info, cnnworld.patrol-news.com, gmanews.balitng247tv.info, gmanewsnetwork.pepetv.info, gmanewstv.cdmstv.info, phbalita.hetongbago.com, manila.tv-patrol.com, and thetrue.i-witnesstv.com-- “killed” Magdayao again after they published a story claiming she died on arrival at the emergency room of “St. Lukes,” a known private hospital, due to hypothyroidism.

The impostor news sites used the same format in the headline and body of their manufactured content -- they designed the site to look like news programs of media giants GMA-7 and ABS-CBN, adding a dubious publishing time of “1 hr ago.” The headline went:

“BREAKING NEWS: Actress na si 'SHAINA MAGDAYAO' dead on arrival nang dalhin sa E.R. dahil sa sakit na Hypothyroid. | Today; 24 Oras (BREAKING NEWS: Shaina Magdayao, dead on arrival when brought to E.R. due to [hypothyroidism])
Usap-usapan ngayon ang videong ito na umabot ng 500K views sa loob ng isang oras. Babala, MASELANG PANOORIN.. (People are talking about this video that has reached 500k views in just one hour. Warning: Sensitive video.)”


At least two sites, balitang247.pepetv.info and gmanews.balitng247tv.info added this text:

“PAALAM Shaina Magdayao, Pumanaw sa Edad 30 dahil sa sakit na Hypothyroid (Farewell, Shaina Magdayao, dead at 30 due to (hypothyroidism))..”

When clicked, these links would redirect to their own sites, while some would land on other sites, where videos of supposed news reports on Magdayao’s death were posted. The videos would only play for about six seconds before a pop-up window would appear requiring the viewer to “share” the content first on Facebook before they can view the rest of the footage.

These posts are fake. Magdayao is very much alive.

Posts in the actress’ official Instagram account show she is in Vienna, Austria attending the 2019 Vienna International Film Festival running since Oct. 24 up till Nov. 6. She stars in the movie “Ang Hupa (The Halt)” by Lav Diaz, which is being screened at the said film fest.

The movie’s Facebook page also uploaded a photo of her at the festival.

On Oct. 25, almost five days after her death hoaxes first spread on social media, Magdayao posted on Instagram a photo with the caption: “Im baaaccckkk! (sic) Or should I say, I’m A L I I I I VE (sic).” It had a photo of her “taken a few days ago for something that(‘)s coming out SOON!”

In 2017, Magdayao revealed that she has hypothyroidism--a condition where the thyroid gland does not produce enough hormones which the body uses to control energy--after she had allergic reactions during the taping of her now defunct television show. In an Instagram post in June that she “feel healthy” for the “first time in years,” citing good lifestyle practices and the help of her doctors. She said her next goal is “rid” herself of medicines for the illness.

Magdayao’s death hoaxes began to surface on Facebook following the finale episode of her latest television show on ABS-CBN entitled Nang Ngumiti Ang Langit (When heaven smiles) on Oct. 18.

The impostor sites which published the hoaxes used the same scheme of copycat news websites that were traced by VERA Files in 2018. These websites used this technique to monetize their fake content. (See VERA FILES FACT CHECK: The scheme behind scams: Why death hoaxes don’t die)

Magdayao’s death hoax could have reached more than 1 million social media users.


(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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