VERA FILES FACT CHECK: Reports on Vic Sotto’s death from heart attack a HOAX

Two fake reports by website news.kanyeisinthelighthouse.com announcing the “death” of noontime show host and comedian Vic Sotto is currently making the rounds on the web. This comes a year after VERA Files Fact Check debunked a similar hoax in August 2018.

News.kanyeisinthelighthouse.com’s undated fake obituaries both carried the headline, “Vic Sotto Inatake sa Puso Tinakbo pa sa Hospital Ngunit Huli na ang Lahat (Vic Sotto suffers heart attack, rushed to the hospital but it was too late).”

It used as its thumbnail a screengrab of a July 2014 24 Oras report, and photoshopped the news ticker -- the television graphic on the lower-third portion of the screen -- from the original: “Vic Sotto, biktima na naman ng maling balita sa internet: nilinaw na hindi siya namatay (Vic Sotto again a victim of false reports on the internet: clarifies he didn’t die),” to “Vic Sotto Patay na Matapos Maatake sa Puso (Vic Sotto dead due to heart attack).”

The fake reports also featured a clip that stops playing after about seven seconds. When opened on YouTube, the blurry 75-second video by YouTube channel Trending News Pinas shows a crowd at night cheering after a black pick-up truck leaves their area. Misleadingly titled “Vic Sotto Patay na matapos Maatake sa Puso video (Vic Sotto dead after heart attack video),” the video’s content does not show nor mention Sotto. The video’s original source could not be traced.

Additionally, Sotto could be seen up and about in the latest episode of Eat Bulaga! on Sept. 3, uploaded on the show’s official YouTube channel.

The fake Sotto death reports are part of 146 hoaxes currently being propagated by news.kanyeisinthelighthouse.com on the Web, which vary from death hoaxes of celebrities and political figures to sex scandals.

Ostensibly to evade flagging or detection, the stories change headers each time the page is refreshed. The Sotto hoax, for example, under the same link, can appear as a story under “It’s All Journalism,” “Freedom of the Press Foundation,” “Mainstream Media,” or “Top Stories.”

Kanyeisinthelighthouse.com was created in July 2016. The top traffic generators of the story from social media are PCSO.ONLINE: Swertres Hearing and Lotto Result, LAZADA Online Shopping Philippines, and My Cars for Sale Philippines.

In August 2018, VERA Files fact-checked an online post by pinagtutudomanditoyen.info claiming Sotto died, which also turned out to be fabricated. Its video content bore the same “stopping” modus as news.kanyeisinthelighthouse.com’s but its thumbnail showed a photo of his Eat Bulaga! co-host Joey De Leon shedding tears. (SEE: VERA FILES FACT CHECK: Website revives Vic Sotto death HOAX)

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