On 15 March 2015, the web site ShareonFB published an item titled “CHARLES MANSON ENDORSES DONALD TRUMP.” But readers who clicked through to the underlying article might have noticed something odd from the outset:
Family cult leader Charles Manson endorsed Donald Trump for President from San Quentin Prison. “He’s the best man for the job, and he speaks his mind”, Charlie said during a telephone conversation with this reporter.
United States, USA — Family cult leader Charles Manson endorsed Donald Trump for President from San Quentin Prison. “He’s the best man for the job, and he speaks his mind”, Charlie said during a telephone conversation with this reporter. .
This event was uncovered undoubtly [sic] at the worst timing possible admid [sic] the world watching. We have exclusive CONFIRMED report and are confident to release this news ot [sic] the public. The postings, first reported by The New York Times, make references to Harper having a son who has a disorder on the autism spectrum and of the family having strong pro-gun views.
Attorney General Eric Schneiderman has sent a letter to fantasy sports sites FanDuel and DraftKings requesting information on employees who compile athletes’ statistical data or help set prices for daily fantasy contests.
The New York Times reported earlier this week that a DraftKings employee had admitted to accidentally posting confidential data last week …
Not only was the article’s text a brief lead-in bolstered with nonsensical unrelated content, but readers who lingered more than a minute or so were shown the following message and animated GIF:
Your friend Freddy Snakeskin just played a prank on you. 366,683 people were trolled.
Here’s their message to you:
ShareonFB is a prank-generating web site, not a legitimate news outlet. A tendency of many readers not to look past headlines enables obvious pranks like the one above to spread more readily.
Previous user-generated pranks with which Share on FB saw incidental viral success included a mid-2015 claim that cult favorite television series Firefly was being rebooted.