​VERA FILES FACT CHECK: Report about Frank Drilon being 'killed in an ambush' FAKE NEWS

No, Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon did not die in an ambush in Iloilo City.

The opposition senator is the most recent addition to the list of personalities victimized by death hoaxes by fake news websites, with Facebook detecting the Drilon hoax circulating in social media this week.

Twice-flagged by the social networking site, the undated story was published by website thetmz.info with the headline, "BREAKING NEWS: Senator Franklin Drilon killed in an ambush in Iloilo City."

Just yesterday, Oct. 9, however, Inquirer.net and website Politiko published videos of Drilon very much alive and speaking to media. Politiko's video even caught Drilon mentioning yesterday's date.

The fake report carried as its content a cropped, seven-second clip of journalist Jessica Soho reporting about an ambush, which stops before Soho is able to name the victim. The clip was grabbed from a seven-minute State of the Nation episode last Oct. 2 about the ambush and death of Sudipen, La Union mayor Alexander Buquing the day earlier.

While the page loads, the fake story features 17 advertisements that take up more space than the actual content, proving true a claim made by Flemish application developer Maarten Schenk about how the volume of ads on a page says "money is a big driver for these kinds of hoaxes."

Death hoaxes also easily generate quick clicks because such kinds of reports, Schenk explains, "overwhelm the critical sense of people to some extent, leading them to act on emotion instead of reason."

The Drilon death hoax could have reached over 225,000 people, its biggest traffic generator from social media is the page News/Entertainment PH. It made the rounds on social media on Oct. 7,the same day Drilon opposed President Rodrigo Duterte's decision to appoint a former military officer to the Department of Social Welfare and Development.

Thetmz.info was created on Sept. 4.

(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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