In mid-December 2018, social media users shared an article reporting that a Burger King employee in Elgin, Illinois, had impregnated 17 local women in a bid to break the (allegedly) existing world record of 16 simultaneous pregnancies by one father.
The story appeared on the website NBCNews6.com, where it was reported that:
A 24-year old Elgin, Illinois man has broken a world record after he successfully impregnated 17 women with all of them simultaneously pregnant with his children.
The man, a young African American – learned that the world record for simultaneous pregnancies to the same father was 16 women, and boasted to his friends that he could beat it.
“He has a habit of making big claims and never following through,” said one of the man’s friends. “In this case we didn’t think for a second he’d be able to do it, so when he came to us with proof we were blown away.”
To validate his record, the man requested all the women who he had impregnated to complete amniocentesis which proved his paternity of the children. Once he had collected all the results from the lab, he organised an event where he invited all the women to meet each other for the first time.
If you're thinking this scenario sounds preposterous, you're right. We checked around and found no evidence that such a world record exists anywhere, or that an Elgin, Illinois, man (conveniently unnamed in the article) recently laid claim to beating it.
We also examined the domain name data for NBCNews6.com. It was registered anonymously a mere three weeks before the article was published. And although it purports to be an NBC affiliate website, it doesn't sport an official NBC logo or include any contact information.
Like a host of similar fly-by-night websites that spoof the URLs of real news organizations, NBCNews6.com is a junk news purveyor publishing fabricated content with clickbait headlines to attract likes, shares, and advertising revenue. We found a number of links on the site that redirected users to pages promoting health and beauty scams, such as alternative cancer cures and anti-aging creams.
Although this article is reminiscent of others we've encountered on sites that explicitly label their fictional offerings as "satire," NBCNews6.com carries no such disclaimer.