CLAIM

A man was hospitalized after a fidget spinner became lodged in his anus.

FALSE

RATING

FALSE

ORIGIN

In May 2017, fidget spinners — a stress-relieving toy that consists of a ball bearing with metal prongs that can be spun and flicked, and which supposedly helps with mental focus — turned into the season’s trend, with versions of the plastic or metal gadgets selling for thousands of dollars online.

Fake news and hoaxes quickly followed on the heels of its soaring popularity.  On 16 May 2017, people on social media were deeply amused by a stories about a man in his thirties who was hospitalized after one of the popular toys became lodged in his anus:

According to local media reports, the man had been introduced to fidget spinners by one of his younger cousins, and had been playing with the device while in bed when the accident occurred.

A family member who spoke to the media declined to be named, or to name the man involved in the incident, but did answer some questions about what had caused the spinner to become stuck.

One version claimed the fidget spinner accident occurred in Boise, Idaho, and the other in Louisville, Kentucky. Otherwise, the language in the articles varied little:

A 27-year old man from Boise, Idaho has been rushed to hospital after a fidget spinner became lodged in his anus. Surgeons were forced to operate on the man to remove the device, which had become stuck after he used it inappropriately.

“We are confident the man will make a full recovery, but for the moment he does face a fairly long recovery due to the internal damage the device made to his anal passage,” said one of the doctors who operated on the man.

A 29-year old man from Louisville, Kentucky has been rushed to hospital after a fidget spinner became lodged in his anus. Surgeons were forced to operate on the man to remove the device, which had become stuck after he used it inappropriately.

“We are confident the man will make a full recovery, but for the moment he does face a fairly long recovery due to the internal damage the device made to his anal passage,” said one of the doctors who operated on the man.

No “local media reports” from Boise or Louisville indicated that any incident involved a fidget spinner lodged in anyone’s anus. These highly sharable stories are a perfect example of regional fake news, where standard garden-variety hoaxes are geo-targeted to increase social media traffic and engagement.