A nine-foot-long bull shark was found in Kentucky Lake.
Slight though it was, the page got a lot of play on social media — partly, we hope, in recognition of its humorous intent. A nine-foot-long bull shark was not, in fact, found in Kentucky Lake, a man-made reservoir along the western borders of Kentucky and Tennessee.
The Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Services made that clear in a sternly worded Facebook post dated 27 June 2017:
React365 is a web site that provides users with tools to create their own fake news stories, and share them via Facebook and Twitter:
A grammatically challenged disclaimer on the site claims its purpose is entertainment:
React365 users sometimes copy and repost the same material with minor changes to localize or personalize a joke in hopes of garnering shares on social media. Examples include: Bull Shark in Philpott Lake Virginia, Great White Sharks Spotted in Mississippi River, and Great White Sharks Found in Illinois River. For that matter, ersatz shark sightings are a perennial favorite on fake news web sites and social media generally. For example, we’ve previously debunked: Bull Shark Caught in the Ohio River, Fisherman Captures 3,000-Pound Great White Shark in Great Lakes, and Photo of a Baby Great White Shark.
Sticklers for detail will have noticed that the image shared with the React365 post does not depict the fin of a freshwater bull shark, but that of a great white shark instead. The image, normally credited to UC Davis, has been used all over the Internet for the past seven years or more, including in actual news stories.