VERA FILES FACT CHECK: Death hoaxes on local celebrities, Imelda Marcos abound

Celebrities Bamboo, Ryan Bang, Edu Manzano and former first lady Imelda Marcos are subjects of recent death hoaxes published yet again by sites randomnames.club and cnnupdates.ml. Both have a documented history of peddling fabricated news reports.

All four fake stories are undated and have generated large online traffic since February 2020. Each continued to see a spike in shares on Facebook (FB) as of May 26, according to social media monitoring tool CrowdTangle.

Bamboo

Singer Francisco Mañalac, popularly known as Bamboo, has supposedly “died” again in a car crash for the second time this year. His fake death report was first flagged by VERA FILES FACT CHECK in March. (See Report claiming singer Bamboo ‘dead’ NOT TRUE)

The singer was recently seen performing in a livestream for a tech company on May 26. The performance was announced on his professional Twitter and Instagram account earlier in the day, but the footage appears to have been taken down soon after his online show.

The bogus video from randomnames.club, headlined BREAKlNG NEWS: PAALAM (Goodbye) 'BAMBOO MANALAC', SaIamat sa lnspirasyong Binigay Mo (Thank you for the inspiration you’ve given)...1976-2020, rolls for about two seconds before it stops. It claims the clip has to be shared on FB before the rest of the footage can be played. However, it doesn’t, even after it is shared on the social media network. According to CrowdTangle, over 11 million online users could have been reached by this hoax since it was uploaded.

The footage used by the website is part of a segment on ABS-CBN’s TV Patrol on December 9, 2018 and is a report on three cars that crashed against each other at the North Luzon Expressway. A 64-year-old woman died and 10 others sustained injuries from the incident.

Ryan Bang

TV personality and comedian Ryan Bang was claimed to have been “found dead on the street” according to the fake story also published by randomnames.club.

Bang’s official Instagram account was last updated on May 26 with a brief recording of his video chat with fellow cast members of local comedy show Banana Sundae. Bang’s official YouTube channel also has footage of him uploaded on an almost weekly basis with the latest done on May 14.

The sham story on the comedian’s death misused an Oct. 21, 2019 report in GMA News’s Unang Hirit. The video showed a man found in New Manila, Quezon City who sported a long ponytail and had an identification card from the Philippine Red Cross with him.

The death hoax could have reached over 11 million online followers, according to CrowdTangle.

Edu Manzano

Website cnnupdates.ml published a bogus story on actor and politician Eduardo “Edu” Manzano’s death due to a “heat stroke after working out in his gym.”

Manzano on May 26 posted on his official Instagram account an update on his activities, after he said he disconnected from social media for a week.

The fake video posted by imposter site cnnupdates.ml featured several photos of Manzano. The thumbnail was an image of Manzano superimposed with the logo of GMA News and the words “Paalam (Farewell) Edu Manzano, 1955-2020.” Close to 38 million internet users could have been reached by this fabricated story.

This clip embedded by cnnupdates.ml was uploaded May 21 on a YouTube channel called News Reports. Found in the same channel is a manipulated video on BB Gandanghari’s death hoax, which also went viral in April. (See BB Gandanghari is ALIVE)

Imelda Marcos

Another manipulated video found on News Reports on May 24 and embedded on cnnupdates.ml is former first lady Imelda Marcos’s death hoax.

The clip misused a Dec. 13, 2019 report in GMA News’s 24 Oras on the death of the network’s correspondent, filmmaker Cesar Apolinario Jr. Since the footage rolled for only a few seconds, a photo of Marcos was inserted on the lower left side of the screen.

There have been no reports on Marcos lately, but a documentary about her was shown online about two weeks ago.

The fake news, in fact, made the rounds on social media a day after a Q&A with the director of 'The Kingmaker' was aired online on May 23. The 2019 film, directed by Lauren Greenfield, is a 2019 documentary about the wife of former president Ferdinand Marcos, who ruled the Philippines for 21 years, including 14 years under martial rule.

The fake post could have reached over 40 million online users.

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

(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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