Vanessa Bryant is not dead. Neither has the BBC published any such report about her.
Publishers of death hoaxes have once again made the family of the late basketball legend Kobe Bryant a subject of their schemes.
About two weeks after a fake report claiming his wife Vanessa “committed suicide” made the rounds on the Web, a new hoax is reporting that the Bryants' eldest daughter, Natalia, took her own life because of bullying. The family grabbed the headlines after the basketball legend and his 13-year-old daughter Gianna, along with seven other people, died in a tragic helicopter crash in Calabasas, California on Jan. 26.
Four sites -- gl0ba1.gossipcorner.xyz, shocking.worldnewsfactory.today, t0pt0day2020.netgl0balw0rlds.com, and thelatest.worldnewsfactory.today -- published the untrue, undated articles. Similar to the death hoax on Vanessa, the publishers claimed this information about Natalia was from the British Broadcasting Channel (BBC).
It bore the headlines:
- “BREAKING NEWS: KOBE BRYANT's ELDEST DAUGHTER 'NATALIA BRYANT' left a 'Suicide VIDEO' of Herself 'COMMITTING SUICIDE' After BEING BULLIED... | BBC-News”
- “BREAKING NEWS: KOBE BRYANT's ELDEST DAUGHTER 'NATALIA BRYANT' left a 'Suicide VIDEO' of Herself 'COMMITTING SUICIDE' and sent to BULLIED Friends in SCHOOL.. | BBC-News”
When opened, the links lead to a video of the supposed BBC obituary. Its thumbnail, however, features a graphic that means the video has been taken down.
This is where it gets more spurious. Upon pressing play on the clip, the viewer is redirected to a different site -- internati0nal.newskoto.info -- that features another death hoax: singer-actress Sarah Geronimo’s mother committed suicide because of her daughter’s recent wedding. From “BBC,” the post transforms into a counterfeit “GMA News” report.
VERA Files Fact Check debunked this story earlier this week.
The hoax on Natalia Bryant circulated around the same time the Bryant family held a public memorial for Kobe and Gianna at the Staples Center in California on Feb. 24.
The fabricated stories have received at least 900 interactions on Facebook.
Two of the websites -- shocking.worldnewsfactory.today and thelatest.worldnewsfactory.today -- appear to be related, sharing the same domain worldnewsfactory.today. It was created Feb. 3.
Netgl0balw0rlds.com was created on Feb. 16, while the creation date of gl0ba1.gossipcorner.xyz cannot be tracked by online investigation tool DNSlytics.
The links only appear to work if they are direct links to a story. When one tries to visit the home pages of each of the websites, an error warning pops up written in Ilokano, a language spoken in northern Philippines. It translates to “You are peeping again!” and is a trademark pop-up for other death-hoax-producing websites VERA Files Fact Check has flagged in the past.