The story on the fake news website, HoustonChronicle-TV, began circulating a news story on Facebook and online with a headline that screamed: “CONFIRMED: Former Jamaican Prime Minister Portia Simpson Dies.”
The writers’ claimed the former PM, who just retired from politics, died after “collapsing in her apartment in Kingston.” The report even quoted a doctor as saying the former head of state’s body is at a “morgue” awaiting an “autopsy.”
Another report falsely claimed Simpson-Miller was secretly flown to New York City to receive medical treatment and died there.
NAN can confirm that PM Simpson-Miller is alive and well. She was in fact paying tribute Wednesday to longtime Caribbean soccer official Captain Horace Burrell at his funeral service.
Simpson-Miller, 71, is Jamaica’s first female Prime Minister and former President of the People’s National Party. She resigned this week from representational politics after 43 years.
Concern about the fake news phenomenon has led Facebook and Google to announce that they’ll crack down on fake news sites, restricting their ability to garner ad revenue.
Factcheck.org is warning readers how to spot fake news. They urge to beware of the source of the news, pay attention to the site domain and read beyond the headline.