Hoax Story About Dead Buffalo Teen Spreads On Internet
Buffalo, NY (WBEN) -- A hoax story about the death of a Buffalo teen is being cited as fact by legitimate news sites, including one for a Chicago TV station.
Last week, a satirical web site named TheNewsNerd posted a story with the headline, "Boy Dies After Participating in the FaceBook Fire Challenge." It related the sad tale of 15-year-old James Shores, who set himself on fire doing a viral dare, where the foolhardy douse themselves with alcohol or other flammable liquids and sprays, and are filmed setting themselves on fire for a brief time. The story says Shores died of his injuries.
Just one problem: it's not true.
First clue: there's a quote from "Police Commissioner James Daniels," which would be a surprise to real commissioner Daniel Derenda. His statement is made to News-Two, and that would be a surprise to WGRZ-TV.
If, however, this was your first visit to the site, you might miss the disclaimer at the bottom of each page: "The stories posted on TheNewsNerd are for entertainment purposes only. The stories may mimic articles found in the headlines, but rest assured they are purely satirical."
Well-meaning news outlets are using the hoax story to warn others against taking part in the ill-conceived dare. One Chicago station mentioned the "reported death" while reporting on 14-year-old Michael Symonette of Crosby, Texas, who burned himself. The dramatic photo is actually of a Chicago man named Krishon Hammons, who took the "challenge" and survived.