On 12 January 2016, the entertainment web sites Daily Media Buzz and Buzzfed.net published the same fake news article, which claimed that actor Sean Penn had been found dead at his home in Malibu:
Director Sean Penn Has Been Found Brutally Murdered At His Home In Malibu. Penns wife came home early Tuesday morning to find him dead in his own pile of blood. There were no signs of any break in nor was anything stolen in the home.
Authorities are saying that El Chapo may have ordered his death.
Sean Penn had been in contact with Guzman for several months, authorities are presumably interested to find out why the actor did not earlier share any information on the wanted man.
According to the Associated Press, Penn’s helped lead authorities to Guzman, who was captured and returned to prison Friday.
The above-quoted story is a work of fiction. While it’s true that Sean Penn interviewed “El Chapo” shortly before the drug kingpin’s arrest, the actor was not found dead at his home.
Neither Buzzfed.net nor Daily Media Buzz contain a disclaimer labeling its content as satire. Still, there are several ways to tell that this story is false.
For one thing, if Sean Penn, a two-time Academy Award winner, had passed away it would immediately be national news. Yet the only reports about the actor’s alleged demise are confined to aforementioned web sites. Second, Daily Media Buzz frequently publishes fake news articles.
It should also be noted that while Buzzfed.net has a similar URL to the viral content web site Buzzfeed.com, these two web sites are not related.