VERA FILES FACT CHECK: BB Gandanghari is ALIVE

Filipino celebrity BB Gandanghari is the most recent victim of a death hoax.

Several imposter websites that appear to belong to the same creator carried a fake report of Gandanghari dying in her “apartment in the United States.” This comes days after she tearfully recalled her past in an April 20 Instagram Live video.

Gandanghari showed “proof of life” in at least two other Instagram video clips, with the latest showing her at work on April 28 saying, “I am alive and kicking.”

This hoax features the same elements of previous fake stories of celebrities or news figures dying which VERA Files has been flagging since 2018:

  • The website, cnnupdates.ml, copied the name of international broadcast network CNN, to lend supposed credibility to the fake report.
  • Only one video report can be seen on the web page filled with ads. The manipulated clip’s layout mimics that of a Facebook page, including a fake views counter and like, comment and share buttons.
  • A photo of the alleged “dead” personality is superimposed in the thumbnail of the footage together with a news reporter. In this case, it’s Vicky Morales of GMA-7.
  • Once played, the video rolls for a few seconds and stops. To view the alleged “complete” news report, a prompt to “share” the footage on Facebook appears.

The doctored nine-second video embedded in cnnupdates.ml was uploaded on April 23, by a YouTube channel named News Reports. It pirated and edited a clip from an April 22 24 Oras reportreport about the shooting of a man in Quezon City at a community quarantine checkpoint.

News Reports has 12 other rigged videos of fake deaths or accidents of known personalities supposedly announced in the news. The earliest upload was made in September 2019.

The BB Gandanghari death hoax has garnered over 22 million views in one week.

Cnnupdates.ml shares a Google Analytics I.D. (UA-123944550-1) with at least 30 other domains including randomnames.club, thefilipiknows.com, kanyeisinthelighthouse.com and unlibuzzmaniac.com. An analytics ID is used to track traffic and activities done by visitors in a website.

These sites have also featured death hoaxes and other fake and misleading stories. VERA Files Fact Check flagged a hoax by randomnames.club on April 30 where it claimed actress Angel Locsin tested positive for COVID-19.

(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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About Vera Files

Founded in March 2008, VERA Files is published by veteran Filipino journalists taking a deeper look into current Philippine issues. Vera is Latin for “true.”

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