The site that published the hoax masquerades as a legitimate site of the GMA news program 24 Oras.
At least six Facebook (FB) users published fake posts on Dec. 12 and 13 claiming actor John Lloyd Cruz is dead.
No media organization has reported on Cruz’s supposed demise. The actor recently made the news for appearing in a Christmas ad for a watch brand launched on Dec. 4, after a three-year-long break from show business.
Though published by six different people, the circulating posts carried identical captions reading: “Grabe nakakagulat naman ito 2020 tama na!!. R - l - P John Lloyd!! Nawa'y palakasin ng dyos ang loob ng kanyang mga iniwan (This is shocking, 2020, please stop!! R-I-P John Lloyd. Let the Lord strengthen those he left behind).”
Afterwards, the netizens instructed readers to click on a link to another person’s FB post or go to their FB profile to watch the “full story.” However, there was no content supporting their claim of Cruz’s death.
A made-up thumbnail showing the actor’s year of birth (1983) and alleged death also accompanied the false posts. It used a black and white copy of a 2018 Getty Images photo of Cruz during a film festival in Germany, and in the background was a screenshot of his former love team partner Bea Alonzo in tears, captured from the 2013 movie Four Sisters and a Wedding.
Five of the six netizens uploaded a fake quote card of Alonzo, spuriously attributing it to the Philippine Star. It claimed that the actress was “shocked” by the news and that she “could not believe what happened.” This is fabricated.
At the same time the netizens’ posts circulated on social media, concocted articles published by nine-day-old gma-n3tworktv.xyz, a website posing as an affiliate of GMA Network, also reported Cruz’s supposed death.
The impostor site carried a video to support its fake claim. It only played for two seconds, but an online search showed that it came from a 24 Oras Chika Minute report on July 6 about the death of the mother of veteran actress Chanda Romero due to COVID-19.
Gma-n3tworktv.xyz’s reports have since been taken down.
The FB users’ fake posts collectively received over 400 interactions, and each user posted in FB groups with members ranging from 23,300 people to 180,000. Gma-n3tworktv.xyz’s spurious article, on the other hand, gathered around 2,000 total interactions on FB, according to social media monitoring tool CrowdTangle.