VERA FILES FACT CHECK: Corpses of foreigners found in Boracay FAKE NEWS

A fake clickbait story posted by website about 51 corpses of foreigners found in Boracay is making rounds on social media.

Bearing the headline “HEADLlNES: 51 bangkay ng mga mga dayuhan natagpuan sa BORACAY Panoorin ang buong Video (Headlines: 51 corpses of foreigners found in Boracay. Watch the entire Video)…,” the undated fake story employs the same tricks VERA Files observed used in a recent slew of death hoaxes and fake sex scandals. (See VERA FILES FACT CHECK: The scheme behind scams: Why death hoaxes don’t die)

It carries a video with a thumbnail showing six men lifting a dark mass in a fishnet. When clicked, the video stops playing about two seconds in and prompts readers to answer a Facebook “security check,” a trick used by fake news creators to harvest clicks.

Opening the video on Youtube reveals an April 26 UNTV news report about Boracay, which contrary to the headline of the fake report, shows men lifting a mass of algae, not corpses. Boracay was closed to tourists the same day for clean-up and rehabilitation.

The fake story shares the same Google Adsense code (UA-120266524) and Google Analytics code (ca-pub-4056248652527790) with the website that published a fake sex scandal story on Bureau of Corrections chief Ronald “Bato” Dela Rosa. (See VERA FILES FACT CHECK: Bato Dela Rosa ‘sex tape’ a HOAX)

The Analytics code was also used in three death hoaxes published last May.

These unique IDs are given to one publisher, allowing to analyze visitor foot traffic and place ads on their content.

Flemish application developer and fake news expert Maarten Schenck said stories that target people’s emotions are what fake websites often use to generate revenue, through ads placed on their pages.

At least 20 ads pop up on the page when it finishes loading.

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