The Philippines' "Queen of All Media" is very much alive.
Website gl0beupdatingn3ws.xyz published a fake story claiming TV host Kris Aquino was hospitalized and hinting she tested positive for COVID-19.
The fabricated story baited netizens with a headline that read: “Breaking News: Kris Aquino Tinakbo sa Hospital matapos Mag Positive sa sakit na COV... (Kris Aquino rushed to hospital after testing positive for COV...),” the last word suggesting she has been infected with the viral disease that has killed hundreds of thousands around the world.
Gl0beupdatingn3ws.xyz also duped readers with 19-month-old photos and a video of Aquino in a hospital bed, to support its fake claim.
A reverse image search shows one of the images in the hoax’s thumbnail was uploaded on the actress’ Instagram account on Jan. 10, 2019 while the other was a screengrab from a video she posted the next day. Both showed her in a hospital in Singapore. In a separate Instagram post, Aquino said she was getting tested at the time for two autoimmune disorders.
Gl0beupdatingn3ws.xyz’s thumbnail also carried a portrait of Aquino published that month.
For its content, the website embedded a video that only plays for three seconds. An online search for the clip shows it was a cut version of a Jan. 10, 2019 News 5 report on Aquino being confined in a Singaporean hospital.
Once the clip stops playing, an overlay pops up that invites viewers to share the story first on Facebook (FB) to continue watching. The same happens in other clickbait hoaxes that VERA Files Fact Check has debunked in the past. (See: VERA FILES FACT CHECK: Imposter ‘BBC, ABS-CBN’ FB page posts death HOAX on Ironman star and VERA FILES FACT CHECK: No, Piolo Pascual was NOT killed by carjackers).
The edited video used by website gl0beupdatingn3ws.xyz was uploaded by YouTube channel Aksyon Balita PH, which spuriously carried the logo of GMA News as its display picture. A look at its uploads shows it has published at least 10 other fake “death” reports, as well as sex scandals and crime videos.
Gl0beupdatingn3ws.xyz’s fabricated story could have reached over three million people, according to social media monitoring tool CrowdTangle, with traffic largely coming from FB group JOEY DE LEON.
According to Facebook, the hoax surfaced on Aug. 20, a day before the 37th anniversary of the assassination of Aquino’s father—Marcos critic and former senator Benigno “Ninoy” Aquino Jr.
Website gl0beupdatingn3ws.xyz was created only last July 7 while YouTube channel Aksyon Balita PH was created on Aug. 26, 2019.